• Military

CA Military

Military drivers are able to obtain more convenient services in order to ensure that they are able to participate within the armed services without the various worries about their license and registration. Understanding the regulations and privileges that pertain to military drivers is important if you want to be sure that you don't make unnecessary arrangements for services you don't need, while ensuring that you always obtain those you do.

California Military Resident Driver's License

The California DMV understands your call of duty, and provides you with exceptions not extended to other drivers or residents within the state. For example, residents of the state of California that are actively enrolled within the armed forces and stationed outside of California are given a break when their license expires, not required to renew, as long as you inform the DMV of your status and update your record within the time specified. You will then be given a DL 236 driver's card that will confirm the validity of your driver's license while you are overseas.

This exception is also given to your family members and spouse that may be stationed outside of the state with you, ensuring that you aren't making any trips for yourself or them either. It is understandable that stationing out-of-state is going to get in the way of your driver's license and other DMV services, and the California DMV does all it can to ensure that you are given the appropriate accommodations.

In order to ensure that your license remains valid, you utilize one of the following options:

  1. Request license renewal by calling 1-916-657-7790.
  2. Request license renewal by mail by writing to:

          California Department of Motor Vehicles

            P.O. Box 942890
            Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

After your request is received and processed, you are provided with a one-year temporary license to ensure you don't incur penalties while you are out-of-state.

Coming Home to California

Although you have a one-year temporary driver's license, entry into the state changes the rules. After you return home, you have a period of 30 days to make your appointment for California military license renewal.

The same documents that apply to standard license renewal in California will apply for military drivers—with verification documents explained at Driver License Information

Registration Away from Home

  • As a member of the armed forces, you will often be far from home, making registration just as difficult as license renewal. California military registration can be extended with a late fee waiver, which you can find out more about at Vehicle information for Military Personnel in California   Visit the link to see what qualifications and restrictions apply to your situation. You will be required to  complete form REG 256, Miscellaneous Statements of Fact, which you can download yourself or obtain by calling the DMV and requesting the form.

Out-of-State Military Drivers

For those military personnel who are stationed in California from another state and currently hold an out-of-state license, you are able to use this license as a legal driver's license for California as long as it remains valid. Renewal regulations and specifications will be different from state to state so be sure to check your state resources.

Out-of-state California Military Vehicles

Out-of-state vehicles driven by California-based military personnel which display out-of-state plates and with out-of-state registration are permitted for operation within California. Registration, plates, and insurance must be up-to-date whether you or your spouse is driving.


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