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California Driver Information

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

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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Apply to drive

If you're applying to drive in California, see the application steps.


Vehicle requirements

All vehicles must have 4 doors and 5-8 seats, including the driver's.

If you're in one of the following cities, your vehicle must be 2004 or newer:

  • Bakersfield
  • Fresno
  • Inland Empire
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Los Angeles
  • Modesto
  • Monterey
  • Napa/Sonoma
  • Orange County
  • Santa Barbara
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco/Oakland
  • San Jose
  • Santa Cruz
  • Stockton
  • Ventura

Vehicles in all other cities must be 2002 or newer.

Lyft vehicles in California must not be titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt or any other equivalent classification.

To be approved, your vehicle must also pass an inspection at licensed California facility.

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Emblem & placard requirements

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Lyft trade dress emblem

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires drivers to always display two Lyft emblems when in driver mode: one on the front windshield and the other on the rear windshield.

CA emblems

Select the temporary emblem below to open in a new window so you can print it out.

Lyft emblem

Our emblems use a non-permanent adhesive, which can easily be removed.

After you’re approved to drive, your Lyft emblems will arrive within 1-2 weeks. If you didn't get an emblem or need a new one, place an order in your Dashboard. You can print a temporary emblem while waiting for the official one to arrive.

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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Document & inspection requirements

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

Use the Driver Dashboard to upload your documents up to 31 days before they expire.

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Driver photo

Lyft requires a photo of all drivers. Your driver photo is a passenger’s first impression of you when they request a ride. See tips for taking a great profile photo.

Driver’s license

Drivers are required to have a valid California driver's license. A temporary license is acceptable, but be sure to upload your permanent copy when you receive it.

California driver’s licenses expire every 5 years.

Vehicle license plate

Vehicles on the Lyft platform in California must have a California license plate.

Vehicle license plate registration expires annually.

Personal vehicle insurance

Drivers are required to have personal vehicle insurance issued in California.

Personal vehicle insurance plans vary, and must be updated before your policy’s expiration date.

Vehicle inspection

Drivers are required to have a vehicle inspection before becoming approved to drive, and at least annually thereafter. Keep a current inspection form in your vehicle at all times while in driver mode.

To find an inspection location, schedule an appointment, or upload your inspection document, see 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 doesn’t cover the cost of annual inspections or inspections for existing drivers.

Vehicle inspections expire annually or every 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Free 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 Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, or the surrounding areas can visit one of these locations for a free annual re-inspection.

No appointment is necessary during operating hours at these locations, but please allow 30 minutes once you arrive.

Here’s an example of the inspection form:

Sample form

 

Business license

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:

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 year
  • 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.

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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California driver regulations

In California, Lyft is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

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Best practices

Hourly driver mode limits

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

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Insurance coverage

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 policy will be your primary policy 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

To drive with Lyft in California, you’re required to obtain:

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

  • The date you're moving
  • Your new shipping address
  • Clear photos of your California driver's license and vehicle insurance. If you already have a California driver's license or insurance on file with Lyft, you don't need to send them in again.

Also make sure your vehicle meets requirements for California.

If you’re moving from California to a different state, find your new state to see what documents you'll need.

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Need something else?

Contact Support