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California Department of Motor Vehicles
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General Information

Tips to shorten or eliminate your visit to DMV

We realize your time is important. Many DMV services can be processed online If you have received any notification from DMV, check your letter to see if you can complete your transaction online.

Appointments are available at all offices for faster service. You may make an office appointment or a behind-the-wheel driving test appointment online.


If you make an office appointment online, please check our driver license and/or vehicle registration pages for requirements, fees, forms, or any other information you may need to complete your transaction.

You may also call to make an appointment. When you call to make your appointment, ask for general information regarding your transaction, the name of the forms you may need, and the location and hours of the office.

Ask if your transaction can be processed by mail. If the answer is yes, then request the forms be mailed to you. After you receive the forms, complete the information and mail them to any DMV office. Please allow 3 to 6 weeks to process your new documents.

If it is necessary for you to visit an office, make an Appointment(s) for faster service. See DMV offices for directions to the office

Note: All DMV offices accept payment by cash, check, and money order and ATM/Debit cards for payment of fees. Credit cards are not accepted in any DMV office.


How to notify DMV when I change my address

Law states that you must notify DMV within 10 days of changing your address. There is no charge to change your address, and you may notify DMV by any of the following ways:

  1. Complete your change of address online.
  2. Call any DMV office at 1 (800) 777-0133 and request that a change of address form be mailed to you. It will take 5 days for you to receive it. Complete the information required on the form, then mail it to the address listed at the top of the form.
  3. Download the Change of Address form DMV 14, complete the information, and mail it to the address listed at the top of the form.
  4. Visit any DMV office, complete a change of address form, and give it to a technician. The technician will give you a Change of Address Certificate card (DL 43) to complete and carry with your license.

If you do 2 or 3 above, type or write in ink your new address on a small piece of paper, sign and date it. Carry this piece of paper with your license. Do not tape or staple the change of address information to your driver license.

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What methods of payment are acceptable for DMV services?

Payment Options

In Person at Your Local DMV Office
You can pay by:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Money order, or
  • ATM/Debit cards are now accepted at all DMV offices.

Credit cards are not accepted in DMV offices.

By Mail
Pay by check or money order.

Internet Transactions/Over the Telephone
Pay with your credit card.

Images of credit cards
There is no additional fee for using a credit card.

Internet Registration Renewal
Pay by e-check

Image of an echeck
There is no additional fee for using an e-check.

Online Banking Payments
You can pay your DMV fees through online checking.  Contact your bank for details.  You must provide your bank with the license plate number of your vehicle

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How to get a copy of my DMV record

Your DMV record is available to you during normal working hours. You may obtain a copy of your California driving license/identification card and/or vehicle/vessel registration information by:

If going into a local field office is not convenient for you or you are out of state, you may request your record by mail. Complete the INF 1125 form available on this web site or prepare a written request, including your name, date of birth, social security number, California driver license number, and your signature, along with a check or money order for $5, and mail to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Office of Information Services
Public Operations Unit G199
P. O. BOX 944247
Sacramento, California 94244-2470

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How to get a copy of someone else's driver license, ID card, vehicle or vessel record

Vehicle, vessel, driver license and identification (ID) card records are open to public inspection. Confidential information, such as social security numbers and residence addresses, may only be disclosed to a court, law enforcement agency or other individual when they are authorized by a specific federal or state statute.

To request vehicle registration record or driver license/identification card record information, complete a Request for Record Information INF 70 form.

Effective March 24, 2010, casual requestors cannot immediately obtain information from his/her spouse, minor child, or registered domestic partner. If you wish to obtain the vehicle registration record or driver license/identification card record information of your spouse, minor child, or registered domestic partner, please complete an INF 70 .

Mail your request with the appropriate fees (provided on form) to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Public Operations, Unit-G199
P. O. BOX 944247
Sacramento, California 94244-2470.

The form must be submitted to DMV headquarters in Sacramento for processing as the law requires DMV send a copy of the request form to the subject of record.

NOTE: You will not receive residence address information unless a state or federal statute is cited and approved by code name and section number that authorizes or requires the release.


How long does DMV keep records on vehicles and vessels?

The department began microfilming all vehicle and vessel documents in 1992. This increased accessibility of these records. There are some records dating back to 1976 that may be accessed. Records with no activity, such as tickets, renewals, transfers, etc., are usually purged from the database after 4 years.

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How long does DMV report actions or convictions on driver license records?

  • Most convictions of traffic offenses, such as hit and run, reckless driving, and driving under the influence (DUI) will remain on your record for 10 years from the violation date and count as 2 points.
  • Most other traffic offense convictions will remain on your record for 3 years from the violation date and count as 1 point.
  • Accidents are reported for 3 years from the accident date. If you are found to be at fault, the accident normally counts as 1 point.
  • Actions taken against your driving privilege, such as a suspension or revocation due to a DUI or a failure to provide proof of financial responsibility, will be reported for 3 years from the proof termination date or the reinstatement date, whichever is earlier.
  • A Failure To Appear for DUI offenses will be reported for 10 years from the violation date. All other Failure To Appears and Failure to Pay fines will be reported for 5 years from the violation date.

For further information refer to:

See negligent operator violation point count to find out how violation points affect your driving privilege.


I was in a reportable accident. How do I get information on the other party?

Each driver involved in an accident that caused more than $750 ($500 for accidents prior to January 1, 2003) worth of property damage or injured or killed any person must complete a Traffic Accident Report form SR1 to DMV within 10 days. You may obtain information about the other driver from the accident report that he or she submitted.

To request this information, complete a Financial Responsibility Document Request form SR 19C and mail it to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Financial Responsibility Unit
P.O. Box 942884
Sacramento, California 94284-0884.

Also available are the other driver's insurance information and a photocopy of the accident report and/or certification that the other driver in the accident was not insured (Uninsured Motorist Certificate). A $20 fee is required for each type of information requested.

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What is a mature driver course, and can I get an insurance discount?

Mature driver improvement courses are available for drivers who are 50 and over. These courses are sponsored by organizations such as American Association of Retired Persons, National Safety Council, California State Automobile Association, and the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The class is approximately 8 hours long. During the class, the mature driver is instructed about the relationship between age and driving skills. The rules of the road are reviewed, along with specific safe driving practices.

Regarding a discount, check with your insurance company. Some offer insurance discounts for their policy holders who complete the course.

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Can I register to vote at DMV?

Yes, when applying for or renewing your driver license or identification card at any DMV office, you have the opportunity of registering to vote.

If you move, complete a DMV change of address form, and the Secretary of State (SOS) Elections Division will be notified of your address change. You can download the DMV Change of Address form DMV 14, or you may request a change of address form by calling your local DMV office at 1 (800) 777-0133.

It is important to note that if you are registering to vote for the first time, changing your name or political party, or have moved to a new county, you must also complete a Voter Registration form to update the SOS Elections Division database. Give your completed Voter Registration form to a technician, and DMV will mail it to the SOS Elections Division office for updating.

Even if you are not conducting business with DMV, you may pick up Voter Registration forms at any DMV office. Compete the form and mail it to the SOS Elections Division preprinted address on the form.

If you have used the Driver License Internet Renewal service or have renewed your driver license by mail, you can register to vote with the California Secretary of State at Voter Registration.


How to apply for a refund if I overpaid my fees

If you feel that you have overpaid fees to DMV, you may request a refund by:

  • Completing a Refund Application
  • Identifying when the payment was made (it must have been made within 3 years of the date you mail the form) and why you feel the amount was incorrect
  • Including any supporting documents you may have
  • Mailing your request to the Sacramento address on the form
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How to order handbooks in large quantities

You may request handbooks in large quantities by:

Submitting a written request to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Materials Management
4201 Sierra Point Drive, Suite 112
Sacramento, California 95834-1998

Or faxing a request on company letterhead to:

DMV Warehouse at (916) 928-7900

To have an individual handbook mailed to you, call 1-800-777-0133 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm PST.


How to order DMV forms in large quantities

You may request forms in large quantities by submitting a written request to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Materials Management
4201 Sierra Point Drive, Suite 112
Sacramento, California 95834

Mail your request on company letterhead and include the form name, the name and telephone number of a contact person, and the address for delivery. Plan to order a 6-month supply of each form.

Bulk form orders are processed daily. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. Local DMV offices will supply up to 25 copies of a form if they have sufficient copies in stock.

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How to prevent my DMV information from being released

The laws in the California Vehicle Code are very clear regarding who can receive DMV information. Therefore, the department makes every effort to maintain the confidentiality of its information. However, when directed by state or federal statute, certain confidential information is released to authorized requesters, such as courts, law enforcement agencies, or other government entities. In addition, California Vehicle Code Section 1810.2 allows authorized commercial requester account holders to obtain DMV records. Your DMV record information is released for authorized purposes only.


Can I obtain residence address for process serving purposes and small claim actions?

No. California law does not authorize release of residence address for these purposes.


What to do if a vehicle is abandoned on my property?

You may conduct a lien sale. Lien sale instruction and forms are available by calling the department's Lien Sale Unite at (916) 657-7617 or visiting any DMV field office. See "Definition of a lien sale for additional information.


How do I file a complaint when I believe someone has illegally accessed my DMV record?

If you believe someone has obtained your DMV record under false pretenses, you should report this to the department. Complete the Complaint Form (INF 1164) and mail it to the address indicated on the form.


I qualify for residence address confidentiality. How do I request confidentiality of my residence address?

If you qualify for confidentiality of your residence address, you must complete a Request for Confidentiality of Home Address (INV 32) form. This form is a two-part carbonized form and is the only form acceptable. Forms are only available from an eligible agency or exclusively for emergency situations from DMV investigators. Please contact your employing agency to determine eligibility. All completed forms must be sent to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Confidential Records Unit - MS N227
P. O. Box 825389
Sacramento, California 94232-3890