I will drive to California and spend the whole summer (May 20---Aug.20) there and then go back to Indiana. Unfortunately, my driver's license (Indiana) will expire on July 14 before I return. I can't renew license online as I'm an F-1 student.

Now I can only think of two solutions:

  1. Apply for a license in California
  2. Fly back to Indiana to renew

The first solution, despite its feasibility, does not look adequate because I live in Indiana.
The second solution, obviously, is too costly, in terms of both time and $$$.
I know an extension of license is available but only 30 days will be granted.

Has anyone encountered same situation ?

Thank you in advance.

PS: According to BMV regulations here, I am not allowed to renew license 31 days prior to the expiration date.

  • 3
    I don't know about CA, but in some states you are required to have a local license if you are there longer than 30 days. Even if you stay in a hotel, it might be easy to get a CA license for the time.
    – Aganju
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 2:31
  • 7
    Have you considered renewing your Indiana license before you leave for California? Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 2:33
  • 2
    Are you traveling to California for fun or additional studies? If the later, you might try asking the DMV in person if they can issue the renewal early due to circumstances.
    – user13044
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 7:14
  • 1
    @Tom I actually returned from BMV before I posted the question here. They told me that they are not able to renew the license because it's too early. Moreover, they told me to renew in California, but I know that "proof of address" in California could be a problem as I may not have stayed long enough there before I apply a license.
    – booksee
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:15
  • 1
    @Azor-Ahai 1. (Need to change address first)
    – booksee
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


As you note, as an F-1 visa holder, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles allows you only to renew 30 days prior to the license expiration date, and it can't be done online, but in person.

There is another option, that of requesting a 30-extension of your current license, which would just cover your plans (emphasis mine).

Renewing a License If You Are Away From Indiana

If your Indiana driver's license is expired, lost or stolen while you are out of the state, you may renew or replace your license online if you meet the requirements listed above, or you may request a 30-day extension from the date your driver's license expires. To obtain a 30-day extension of your driver's license or a 30-day interim credential you will need to download and complete a Request for Interim/Extension License, State Form 54580. After you have completed the form in its entirety, you may mail it to the address listed on the form.

  • Thanks for your reply. I actually knew this approach and have this form, but unfortunately it can not cover my whole stay in California. As mentioned in my post, I will drive back on Aug.20, so adopting this approach actually poses a danger of being not able to drive during my return.
    – booksee
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:09
  • @booksee... you might try anyway; the difference is 6 days (14 July expiration to 20 August). You might be very specific, attaching documentation, including your confirmed enrollment in the fall semester at your school in Indiana. You might contact your school's international office, which may be able to suggest alternatives, including going right now to a BMV service center and requesting early renewal (and take your visa and student documentation etc.).
    – Giorgio
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:14
  • @booksee do you have a drivers license from your home country (along with an Int'l Driving Permit, although not required)? You can legally drive on it, and the 1-year time period resets every time you leave and re-enter the US.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:18
  • No, I did not know how to drive before I came to the US.
    – booksee
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:19
  • Thanks for your advice! I wish my school will be concerned about my driver's license...
    – booksee
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 17:20

My solution is 1.Apply for a new license in California.

Here are some tips:

  1. You need to change your address into a valid California address, in your bank account, for example.

  2. With a valid license from your home state, you only need to pass a computer-based written test. Be sure to bring necessary documents to DMV, say, proof of address.

  3. An unpleasant experience in getting the new license: I received no feedback/mail 3 months after I passed the test. I searched for solutions online and managed to contact them and finally got the new license. So just contact them if the license does not reach you in 3 months, otherwise it will take forever.
  4. The cost of taking the test is about $70.
  • But how is this useful if the getting-a-license process takes months? OP will be back in Indiana, hole punched through his Indiana license so IN will ask how that happened and since he has applied for a CA license won't Indiana be disinclined to renew it? Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:32

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