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California Driver Information

This page provides information about vehicle, driver, and document requirements, state regulations, insurance coverage, and city-specific requirements, needed to drive with Lyft in the state of California.

To apply to drive in California, submit an application online or in the Lyft Driver app –– download it from the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play store. To be approved to drive, applicants must meet these requirements.

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What you need to drive with Lyft in California

Drivers are required to maintain current documents. Failing to update a required document before the expiration date results in temporary deactivation.

Use your Lyft Driver app or Driver Dashboard to upload your documents.

Vehicle requirements

  • 2005 or newer
    • Bakersfield
    • Eastern Sierras
    • Fresno
    • Inland Empire/San Bernardino
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Los Angeles
    • Modesto
    • Monterey
    • Napa & Sonoma
    • Orange County
    • Sacramento
    • San Diego
    • Santa Barbara
    • Santa Cruz
    • Stockton
    • Ventura
  • 2004 or newer
    • San Francisco
    • Silicon Valley/San Jose
  • 2003 or newer:
    • All other cities
  • 4 doors
  • 5-8 seats, including the driver's
  • Not on the list of ineligible subcompact vehicles
  • Not a taxi or stretch limousine
  • Not titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt or any other equivalent classification

See if your car qualifies for Lyft Lux or Lyft Lux Black to earn more on each ride.

In select cities, you can rent a car through Express Drive with standard insurance included.

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Driver requirements

  • Valid California driver’s license — Temporary licenses are acceptable *
  • 21 or older
  • Pass a driver screening, which reviews your driving history and criminal background check. Learn more about driver screenings.

Any smartphone that can download and run the Lyft Driver app. See phone software recommendations.

* Active duty military applicants and their dependents can have an out-of-state driver's license and vehicle documents. Visit your local Lyft Hub and a Lyft representative will help set up your driver account.

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Document requirements

California vehicle inspection

Drivers are required to have a vehicle inspection completed by a licensed mechanic before becoming approved to drive.

To find an inspection location, schedule an appointment in your driver app or upload your inspection document directly on the Driver Dashboard.

To receive an inspection, bring a copy of this form to any licensed inspection facility. Inspections may cost around $20-30 but vary depending on the facility. Lyft does not cover the cost of inspections done by third party sites

Inspection renewals

Lyft requires that California drivers self-report their total miles driven. In California, all TNC vehicles must complete an inspection every 12 months or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The 50,000-mile requirement includes miles driven when not logged onto Lyft's Platform. 

If you log over 50,000 miles before your annual renewal date, you must get a new inspection and upload the document to the Driver Dashboard.

Here’s an example of a completed inspection form:

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Free vehicle re-inspection

If you're in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, or the surrounding areas, visit one of these hub locations for a free annual re-inspection.

Drivers in Los AngelesSan Diego, or the surrounding areas can visit one of the Hub or Pep Boys locations below for a free annual re-inspection. No appointment is necessary during operating hours at these locations, but please allow 30 minutes once you arrive.

Reminder: bring a copy of this form to your inspection

Los Angeles

San Diego

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Business license

After being approved to drive, the city or county where you live may require you to obtain a business license if you drove with Lyft more than 30 days in the last fiscal year.

If your local city or county doesn't require a business license, you don’t need to get a business license anywhere else to drive with Lyft. There may be additional requirements where you live. Refer to your local city or county's website for these requirements.

Keep your business license in your vehicle in case the authorities ask to see it.

Select your city for details:

Fresno

Fresno residents can obtain a Business Tax Certificate by applying online here


Grover Beach

Grover Beach residents can obtain a Business Tax Certificate by visiting the Community Development Department. Application instructions can be found here


Los Angeles

Los Angeles County residents may need to register their business with the Office of Finance of the City of Los Angeles and obtain and hold a Tax Registration Certificate. View rules for registration.

If you’re unsure whether the business tax rule applies to you, contact the City of Los Angeles Office of Finance.


Orange County

Orange County residents can find information about local business license requirements by selecting their city on Orange County's permit page.


Sacramento County

Unincorporated Sacramento County residents can obtain a general business license on Sacramento County's official page.


San Diego

Residents of incorporated cities within San Diego County are required to obtain a business license (Business Tax Certificate).

Business licenses aren't required for residents of unincorporated cities within San Diego County. To apply for a Business Tax Certificate, follow these instructions from San Diego County.


San Francisco

San Francisco residents who drove more than 30 days in the last fiscal year are required to have a business license, officially named a Business Registration Certificate.

Heads up: After registering, the City may say you owe extra fees and late charges for driving in previous years. Don’t pay the registration fee until you get a specific email from the Treasurer and Tax Collector removing the penalties and interest from your account balance.

Visit this page to register as a business in San Francisco. Select ‘Continue’ to start your application. You’ll be asked to provide the following information:

1. Your business

  • Most drivers choose Sole Proprietorship as their Organization Type and use their legal name as their Business Name. You’ll also add your Business Tax ID and San Francisco Start Date.

2. Ownership information

  • You’ll be asked to fill out your personal information
  • Heads up: Once you register for a Business Registration Certificate, the City adds the business name, address, and certain other details to the SF OpenData website. This means that other than your SSN, any data you share, including your address, will be public. This information may also be shared with San Francisco City and County tax-collecting entities.

3. Contact information

  • Your contact information may be the same as your ownership information from step 2. All tax information will be sent to the person and address you enter here.

4. Location information

  • Location Trade Name: Most drivers use their Business Name from step 2, but this can be any other name used for your business
  • Start Date in SF: The date business activity started at this San Francisco location
  • Tax and Fees: Most drivers select “No” for each tax and fee. Review this page to confirm which taxes and fees apply to you.
  • Business Activities: Most drivers register as a Transportation Network Company Driver (17B). See more information about business activities codes.

5. Registration

  • Estimated SF Payroll Expense is the approximate amount of San Francisco payroll costs you expect during the current calendar yearPreview
  • Estimated SF Gross Receipts doesn’t need to be an exact amount. If you drive in multiple counties, do your best to estimate San Francisco fares based on how often you’re in the city. See more information about gross receipts.

6. Next steps

  • You’ll receive an email to complete the business license application process

Keep in mind the information above isn’t business or tax advice. For specific questions about applying for a business license or associated fees, see San Francisco's New Business Registration Instructions or contact the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.


Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara residents can obtain a Business Tax Certificate by applying online here.


San Jose

San Jose residents can obtain a business tax certificate by submitting this application form by mail or in-person.

If sending by mail:

City of San José
Finance Department
Attention: Payment Processing
200 E. Santa Clara St.
13th Floor
San José, CA 95113

If delivering in person:

City of San José
Customer Service Window 1 or 2
200 E. Santa Clara St.
1st Floor
San José, CA 95113

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Emblem & placard requirements

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Lyft trade dress emblem

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires drivers in California to always display two Lyft emblems when in driver mode — one on the front windshield and the other on the rear windshield. The Lyft emblem is Lyft’s official trade dress. It helps passengers and law enforcement identify your vehicle.

CA emblems

It helps passengers and law enforcement identify your vehicle. The Lyft emblem should be displayed in the lower corner of your windshield on the passenger side every time you enter driver mode. Make sure to remove the emblem when you are not in driver mode.

Lyft emblem

If you’ve just been approved to drive, you should receive your Lyft emblem within 1-2 weeks. If you didn't get one or need a new one, order one in your Dashboard. While waiting for it to arrive, you may print a temporary emblem.

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Airport placards

When giving rides at OAK, LAX, or SFO, you’re required to display an additional airport placard in your front windshield.

View driving requirements for specific airports in California.

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California driver regulations

Be sure to follow these rules when giving rides in California, and keep an eye on your email for important updates from Lyft.

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Hourly driver mode limits

In California, Lyft’s standard time limit for driver mode applies.

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Best practices

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Know your insurance

Effective July 1, 2015, California enacted State Bill AB 2293. Under this law, Transportation Network Companies, including Lyft, are required to provide primary third-party liability insurance and maintain $200,000 of excess liability coverage during Period 1.

Lyft’s third-party automobile liability coverage will be your primary coverage during Period 1. Lyft will also maintain $200,000 of excess liability coverage during Period 1.

Period 1

Period 1 begins when you log in to driver mode and ends when you accept a ride request.

Once you accept a ride, Period 2 begins. Once you pick up a passenger, Period 3 starts. Period 3 ends as soon as you end the ride. Then, you’re back in Period 1 until you accept another ride request or log out of driver mode.

How you’re covered

Under AB 2293, your personal automobile insurance policy, including any optional coverages you’ve purchased such as comprehensive and collision, won’t cover your rideshare driving in California unless you’ve also purchased rideshare coverage.

CA Insurance

Some insurers offer insurance products designed specifically for rideshare drivers. These policies can cover both your personal and rideshare driving, and offer additional coverages.

We try to keep drivers informed as new insurance products become available for rideshare drivers. We encourage you to reach out to your insurance agent for the insurance that best fits your needs.

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In-person support (Lyft Hubs)

We're opening Lyft Hubs across the country to offer in-person support for drivers. Your local Hub is a one-stop shop for answers on everything from setting up direct deposit to discovering where you’ll get the most ride requests.

Locate a Hub in your area

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Moving to or from California

If you're already a driver in a different state, and you're moving to California, send us a message with the following info:

  • The date you're moving
  • Your new shipping address
  • Clear photos of your:
    • California driver’s license*
    • California license plate for your vehicle
    • Personal vehicle insurance issued in California
    • California vehicle inspection from a licensed facility

If you already have the California documents listed above on file with Lyft, you don't need to send them in again.

* Active duty military applicants and their dependents can have an out-of-state driver's license and vehicle documents. Visit your local Lyft Hub and a Lyft representative will help set up your driver account.

Also make sure your vehicle meets the requirements for California.

If you plan on giving rides at OAK, LAX, or SFO, you'll need to get an airport placard.

Moving from California to a different state? Find your new market here to see what steps you’ll need to take.

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Need something else?

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