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I am a French citizen. I have a Massachusetts driver's license and I moved to California: how long do I have to get a California's driving license?


I have crossposted the question at:

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    Are you moving a car too? There's somewhat more information on residency too in that "brochure". If you plan to delay changing it, make sure you can immediately give a valid date of entry to the vehicle. I got hit by a big fine when I registered my vehicle by telling the truth about when the car entered the state. – mkennedy Sep 24 '17 at 23:03
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    @mkennedy thanks, no I purchased a car in California – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 24 '17 at 23:04
  • I voted to close, as this is about life in different parts of the same country – Scott Earle Sep 25 '17 at 7:37
  • @ScottEarle Thank you for the comment. I've just raised the issue on meta: What is our stance on questions about moving to a different part of the same country (e.g., moving to another state in the USA)? – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 26 '17 at 0:08
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question is applicable to anyone moving within the United States and expat status has no bearing on the answer. – ouflak Sep 26 '17 at 6:37
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Have a look at the California DMV's Information For Persons New To California. Then follow the link for How to apply for a driver license if you are over 18 (mirror):

If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner's property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.

  • Thanks. "Any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents." looks vague to me :/ – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 24 '17 at 8:30
  • @FranckDernoncourt, It is indeed vague if you still have and will spend time in your home in MA. If you gave up that home, packed up your stuff and moved it to CA, however, it is fairly clear which state you now now a resident of. – Dennis Sep 24 '17 at 15:09
  • @Dennis According to the California DMV's quoted definition of resident, if I packed up my stuff and moved it to CA, unless I take part in voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner's property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents, I am not a CA resident (from the DMV standpoint). – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 24 '17 at 18:19
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    @FranckDernoncourt that does seem to be correct, but it is rather inconsistent with the states I'm familiar with, which typically give you 30 or 60 days or so to exchange your license after establishing your residence (i.e., after you physically move to the state). I'd be careful, if I were you, to get a CA license quickly unless you are in fact maintaining some sort of presence in MA as well. – phoog Sep 24 '17 at 19:16
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    @FranckDernoncourt, It may be ambiguous whether you are a resident of CA at this point (it won't be once you get a CA license) but if you no longer have a residential tie to MA your status there is much clearer and you need to worry about how they view the validity of your continued use of the MA license. They will charge you with driving without a license if they suspect you are no longer resident in that state (I've been threatened...) so getting a CA license sooner is likely better. – Dennis Sep 24 '17 at 21:07

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