How Long Is a California State Driver's License Good For?

By Shayne Sinclair
Driving is a privilege, not a right, in California.

yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from

Having a driver's license is a privilege that many Californians take full advantage of. Preparing to get a driver's license is a major milestone in a person's life. Once the license has been obtained, it's important to know when it will need to be renewed.

Validation Time

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, Vehicles Code Section 12816 (a) explains that a driver's license expires on the driver's fifth birthday following the application date for the license. In simple terms, a driver's license needs to be renewed every five years.

Types of Licenses

There are several types of driver's license issued in the state of California. The most common license is the Class C. This is the general driver's license for people who are driving passenger cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. Commercial driver's licenses are for people driving tractor-trailers, buses and larger vehicles. The third type of license is the motorcycle license.


Before the driver's license is expired, the cardholder will receive written notification of how to renew it. The California DMV has set up several options for renewing licenses. The most common method is by mail. Other renewal methods are using online forms and visiting local DMV offices.

About the Author

Shayne Sinclair has been writing professionally since 2010. Her articles include topics on education, health, gardening and the environment. She also enjoys writing articles on diverse areas and expanding her knowledge in the fields of gardening and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in human development from California Baptist University

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