Posts California driver license renewal

California driver license renewal

My last US driver license expired in 2004 and I had to get it renewed. Here is how it went:
  • Setup appointment at the San Mateo DMV with their online form (if you don't get an appointment, you will wait longer on-site)
  • At the DMV:
    • "Start here" counter: got number and a form (nobody was in line)
    • Waiting area: filled out renewal form and worked on my laptop while waiting for my number (took about 15 minutes for my number to be called)
    • Counter 1: gave filled-out form, paid fee (USD 20-something) with credit card, got receipt
    • Counter 2: waited a bit in line, got picture taken and renewal test
    • Testing area: filled out test as best as I could (last time I actually studied the stuff was 10 years ago)
    • Counter 3: waited a bit in line, produced filled-out test (yay I passed) and got my temp license
  • One week later: got the actual license in the mail
The positives:
  • The appointment + number system works fine.
  • The DMV employees are efficient.
  • I was done in about one hour total at the DMV.
  • I feared I would need a drive test but luckily that was not needed.
  • I was not asked for a proof of residence. My SSN and expired license seemed to be enough.
Of course all this could be streamlined even more with appropriate technology. You still spend more time than necessary waiting in line. So always take with you a computer / music player / book or whatever can be used to fill in the gaps.