Updated July 2021: Disclaimer: We are a third-party site that offers information on the DMV. We also sometimes recommend services that we trust.
If you need to go to the California DMV, it’s a good idea to have an appointment however you can do walk-ins if necessary. Appointments are required at the DMV offices due to the coronavirus, although normally walk-ins are allowed. You can also get an appointment with the third-party site Skip which makes the entire DMV appointment process straightforward and provides customer support along the way. Please note that due to the pandemic, DMV’s can change their schedules and procedures from time to time. Here’s the California DMV website.
Best Times to visit the California DMV
Here are some tips for the best times to visit the California DMV.
- Afternoons are generally more crowded than mornings
- Mid-week tends to have shorter waits than Mondays and Fridays
- The DL Office goes on lunch break around noon, leaving fewer employees. Try to avoid the lunch hour if you can.
- Make sure you leave enough time to complete your transaction, especially if you are getting a permit or taking a road test.
Check out this list to find a DMV near you to visit.
Online Services At the California DMV
The California DMV is adding more and more services online so that you can get things done without having to visit a physical office for an appointment at all. You can renew your vehicle registration, replace your license, and more online. You can learn more about the online options here. The main reasons you would need to visit the DMV Office in person are that you just moved to the state, are getting a license for the first time, or registering a new car. Other than that, you should be able to complete your business from home.
If you’re not sure whether your service can be completed online, you can always use the DMV’s service advisor to know if you need to make a DMV appointment.
What to Bring to Your California DMV Appointment
If you are applying for a driver’s license or Travel ID (a REAL ID-compliant license or ID) in California, you will need to bring some documents with you for your California DMV appointment. If you have all your documents with you, your visit will go more quickly and smoothly. The documents include:
- Proof of Identity, such as a passport or birth certificate
- Proof of Social Security number, such as a social security card or W-2 form
- Two documents that prove California residency, such as a utility bill or lease agreement
Good luck with getting everything you need done at the DMV! If you want to get a DMV appointment easily, book here.
Other Helpful DMV-Related Links
Need a car to take your driving test or road test? Skip is the #1 road test concierge in the US with cars and drivers all over California. Find out more about their road test car and driver service.
Need to take a DMV permit practice tests? Check out these free permit practice test guides with real DMV questions for every single state.
Want tips to passing your driving test or road test? Check out these free ultimate road test guides to passing your road test in every state.