Proactive Steps by DMV Minimize Impact of Driver License and ID Card Delays

Date April 20, 2011

In October 2010, the Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing new, state-of-the-art driver licenses and identification cards. The new cards feature advanced security devices such as raised print and new watermarks designed to ensure the protection of cardholders’ identities.

Since October, nearly 3.2 million new licenses or IDs have already been shipped to, or received by, California cardholders. In recent weeks, due to a high volume of applicants and quality control guidelines, the DMV has encountered delays in the processing of the new cards, but has taken proactive actions to help minimize the impact on the daily lives of California motorists and residents.

For those few that are still waiting for their new driver licenses or ID cards, the Department has implemented several new services that allow California residents to continue with their day to day lives. Individuals should contact the DMV if they applied for a new or renewed driver license or ID card have not received their new card within eight weeks from submitting their application.


A Web link, specifically designed to provide customers with regular updates on the processing of their driver licenses, was launched on the DMV’s homepage at The link, located in the center of the page, just above the “Important DMV Alerts” box, provides an up-to-date status on driver license and ID card production, and also links to a dedicated website that contains more information and contact information for additional help.


The Department is also issuing automatic 90 day temporary driver license extensions and documentation when a person applies to renew their license. The temporary licenses are designed to serve as proof of identification as well as proof of driving privileges; law enforcement and security agencies, including the California Highway Patrol and Transportation Security Administration, have been instructed to accept the temporary licenses. Car rental agencies also accept the temporary licenses as a valid form of driver eligibility.

“California drivers can rest assured that any delays in processing of their renewals will not impact the legality of their driving status,” DMV Director George Valverde said. “When a driver renews their license, the driver’s record is updated in the DMV’s system within five business days, regardless of when they actually receive their new driver license.”


The DMV has also established two dedicated support lines to handle inquiries related to card production delays. Customers can call 800-777-0133 or email the DMV at for further information.


Customers can also take the following steps to minimize delays when renewing driver licenses or ID cards:

  • Renew driver licenses or identification cards early. Renewal notices generally arrive in the mail up to 60 days before the expiration date.
  • Check the expiration date on temporary driver licenses or identification cards. If it’s a week before it is due to expire, and a renewed driver license or ID card hasn’t been received yet, call the DMV call center at 800-777-0133. The DMV will extend the temporary and send a new one.
  • Keep the expired license along with the temporary driver license or ID card until a new one has been received.

Please be assured that driver licenses and identification cards are distributed through the mail. If a change of address has occurred since applying for a new license and or identification card, customers can complete a change of address online or by filling out Form DMV14 and mailing it in.


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