What docs do I need do replace my CA drivers license?
October 3, 2021 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I lost my (RealID) CA license. I paid to replace it online like the website directed me to do. But it's illegal to drive without a physical license ,and all I have is my renewal receipt. What docs do I need to take to the DMV to get a temp license?

All the information I can find is about what I need if applying for a RealID for the first time. But since I've already successfully "ordered" my replacement, what do I need to bring with me to just get a temp physical one? I managed to get a DMV in person appointment in a few days, but the "reason" was "apply for a RealID". There's no option for "get a temporary license," but there IS one for "renew a non RealID" license. If I have an appointment labeled the wrong thing, will they kick me to the back of the line?
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: So this note says you should bring in photo ID to confirm your identity.
I suggest bringing photo ID with current address.
Or a current photo ID with your name and also something showing your name and address like a bank statement or lease.

IIRC when you first pass your test they do give you a print out as an interim Drivers License.
posted by calgirl at 3:04 PM on October 3, 2021

While driving without a physical license is technically illegal, the charge will be dismissed if you can show you had a valid license at the time of the citation, which you do.
posted by mekily at 3:16 PM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't know specifically about California, but in Vermont the receipt is all you need to prove that you are a legally licensed driver on the off chance that you get pulled over before your RealID gets to you, as mekily says.
posted by jessamyn at 3:52 PM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: (As an anxious person, I deeply appreciate the reassurances about the true legality of driving at this stage. However, as a brown-skinned person in a week where everything has already gone wrong, it's hard to feel confident that things will be okay if I'm unlucky enough to have a need to explain/show that I'm driving legally.)
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 4:52 PM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: How are you getting to the DMV?

I have never lost my license, but in case I ever do, I have scanned a copy of the front and back into my phone documents directory. I also have a copy of my birth cert. Also my Global Entry Card and expired passport.

I don't think you even need to be a legal US resident to get a DL in CA. Your photo ID and something with your permanent address on it like a bill, as pointed out above should do the trick. If they say something about the wrong appointment type, just play dumb and tell them you thought it covered it. If they try to waive you away, be persistent about getting it done now, how you had to take off work, had to risk covid and cannot do many things without it. I am not a POC, but I would also explain your fear if stopped so you need this NOW. If you have to (doubtful), ask for a supervisor and explain your dilemma. I doubt they will have a problem though and if they do, it will likely be to send you to another window.
posted by AugustWest at 5:08 PM on October 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

This, from the CA DMV, may be reassuring:
What to expect:
If you applied for a replacement driver’s license or commercial driver’s license, you will be given a temporary license valid for 60 days. If you applied for an ID card, you will be given a receipt as proof of application.

You should receive your new DL or ID card in the mail within four to six weeks. If you have not receive your DL and/or ID card, call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.
posted by JackBurden at 5:19 PM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: My partner was going to take time off from work to drive me to the DMV, but SOMEONE JUST DROPPED THE LICENSE THROUGH OUR MAIL SLOT OH MY GOD! I know it sounds like hyperbole, but at this stage of the game, this moment of altruism has been nothing short of life-affirming/life-saving relief. I've been trying to hold it together after this last straw all day. That person took the time to drive all the way from a pretty obscure hiking trail (that I spent hours searching today) to my house. YAY HUMANITY - YOU GUYS INCLUDED!

(Um - so now I might get two licenses? I guess I have the fanciest form of August West's excellent suggestion, which I will adopt for all my other docs.)
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 5:50 PM on October 3, 2021 [19 favorites]

Oh I am so happy for you! I wound up having a similar situation where I wound up with two licenses. I just stored one permanently in the car so I didn't have to worry about driving without one in the event that I lost my wallet.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 PM on October 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Be aware that a records check would show the first license as "Invalid - reported lost".
posted by DanSachs at 4:11 AM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

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