SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Motor Vehicles is providing an automatic one-year extension to Californians age 70 and older with a noncommercial driver license with an expiration date between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. This action delays the requirement for this population to visit a DMV office during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DMV previously provided 120-day extensions to senior drivers with noncommercial licenses expiring in March through July. While the new extensions are automatic, drivers will not receive a new card or paper extension in the mail. As an option, drivers can request a free temporary paper extension online beginning July 15 through DMV’s Virtual Field Office to document the extension, though it is not needed to drive. Californians with a suspended license are not eligible.
California law requires drivers age 70 and older to visit a DMV field office to renew their license but gives the DMV authority to issue extensions. The DMV has alerted California law enforcement of the extensions. The TSA accepts driver licenses for a year after the expiration date.
Commercial licenses, including those for drivers 70 and older, expiring between March and September are extended through September 30, 2020, to align with federal guidelines.
The one-year extension for senior drivers is the latest action to help Californians avoid or delay a DMV office visit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV has issued extensions for expiring driver licenses and permits, expanded eligibility to renew a driver license or identification card online or by mail, and created new digital options for transactions that previously required an in-person office visit. The DMV continues to streamline its processes to limit the time customers spend at an office. Customers are encouraged to fill out the online application and upload their documents before they come to the office. The DMV is also contemplating other ways to safely serve seniors.
Summary of California driver license extensions
|| Expiration month
| Age 70 & older (noncommercial)
|| March-December 2020
- Extended one year from original expiration date
| Age 69 & younger (noncommercial)
|| March-July 2020
- Extended to July 31, 2020
- Expanded eligibility to renew online or by mail
| Commercial (all ages)
|| March-September 2020
- Extended to
September 30, 2020
| Learner’s permits
|| March-August 2020
- Extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application
DMV field office employees are assisting customers with appointments at the specific office or with limited transactions that require an in-person visit. Last month, offices began offering additional services, including vehicle inspections and behind-the-wheel drive tests. The DMV continues to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals. Customers can use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.