I am 76 years old. I have a California driver's license expiring on September 8, 2018 and presently live in Europe. I cannot be in CA on the renewal date. I probably will be in the US in spring 2019. Can I do it at that point?

  • By "CA" do you mean "California" (for which CA is the standard state abbreviation), or "Canada" (for which CA is the ISO two-letter country code) Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 12:24
  • @MartinBonner since Canada doesn't normally issue driver's licenses, it's probably safe to assume that CA is California in this case.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 13:29
  • @phoog - Ah, they are issued by the province. Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 13:34
  • If you "reside" in Europe, are you even eligible by CA law to hold a CA driver's license?
    – DJohnM
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 21:40
  • Be careful. Since you are not a California resident at the moment, you may not be eligible to renew a California license. (That is certainly true of my jurisdiction, Saskatchewan, and we would allow you to get a new license here again within five years of the expiration of your old one, or if we offered reciprocity with the country where you carried your European license. California may, of course, vary.) Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


If this is a California license, according to this private website you can renew it up to six months before it expires or 90 days after it expires (so December 7th 2018). After that you would have to apply for a new license. According to my searches, the DMV agent may choose to waive the requirement for a driving test - but they don't have to (and may have a prejudice against allowing a more mature person on the road).

Note that if you are living in Europe, you probably can't drive with the US license after a certain number of months. (The period will depend on precisely where you are, but a year is typical.)

  • Not sure that the second part of your answer is accurate... my experience has been that if you remain within a single country for 12 months, then you are expected to get a valid local license, but if you leave that country periodically (perhaps go to a different European country) the 12 month clock is "reset".
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 18:12
  • @Seamus The clock will be reset if you move home. Just going for a holiday won't reset the clock. The question is "where do you reside?", not "where did you sleep last night". Most people do not move home every year (but there are some that do). Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 8:08
  • That will depend on how long the "holiday" is! It's all quite variable, and dependent upon a number of factors. These things are far from "settled", "well known", "common knowledge" and "uniform practice". Thus, my comment, and I shall stand by it.
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 16:17

Since California driver's licenses can be renewed online, your temporary absence from the state shouldn't prevent you from renewing before it expires.

If you received the renewal notice by mail in California, you may have other options such as renewing by telephone following its instructions.


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