CDFW Lands Pass - Frequently Asked Questions

Purchasing Lands Passes

Where can I purchase daily (1-day) or annual lands passes?

Through the online sales service, print at home.

To purchase daily lands passes, once you are at the online sales page, select “Customer Login/Register”. You may select to continue as a guest. Then select “Purchase Licenses”.

Purchasing an annual lands pass requires setting up a customer profile (not shopping as a guest). This enables CDFW to replace an annual pass if it is lost, destroyed or stolen. From the online sales page, select “Customer Login/Register”. At the next page, enter the date of birth and last name of the person who will own the annual lands pass. The next page in the purchase process includes instructions for new customers and customers who have an existing profile. For most customers, the "State ID" referred to in the customer profile is a driver's license number.

By phone: (800) 565-1458. For daily lands passes, be sure to carry the temporary authorization number (TAN) provided to you by the sales associate

In Person: Find a Sales Agent or a CDFW License Office

How do I purchase daily lands passes online without setting up a customer profile (purchasing as a “guest”).

  1. Select "Licenses and Permits"; from the options near the top of the CDFW home page.
  2. Click on "Online License Sales and Service" (printed in large text, near top of the page).
  3. Click on "Continue as Guest" at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click on "Purchase Licenses" near the top of the page.
  5. About half-way down the page, click on "Lands Pass"
  6. Select either the purchase of one daily pass or the purchase of multiple daily passes for the same date. If you select one pass, you will go directly to Step 8.
  7. If you selected multiple passes, enter the desired quantity and click "Accept".
  8. Enter the "Lands Pass Details" information and click "Submit".
  9. Review details and click on "Checkout".
  10. Make any necessary edits to the order, then click "Checkout".
  11. Checkout Page: Read and follow instructions.
  12. At the page for printing out lands pass(es), the first page will be the receipt. The following pages are the passes.

Can I purchase a lands pass at a wildlife area or ecological reserve?

Purchase lands passes in advance of your visit. There are no “in-person” sales on CDFW lands with the exception of the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve. Lands passes can be purchased using a smartphone, but only where there is cellular or WiFi coverage. Lands pass properties may not have coverage.

What forms of payment can I use to purchase a lands pass?

On-line and phone sales: Only debit or credit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logo are accepted.

In-person sales at CDFW License and Revenue Branch or regional license offices: Checks, money orders, or debit or credit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logo are accepted. Cash is not accepted.

In-person sales at authorized CDFW license agents: Contact the license agent (often a sporting goods store) to see what forms of payment they accept.

If I purchase an annual lands pass online or by phone, how long will it take to arrive in the mail?

It will take 10-15 calendar days to receive your annual lands pass.

If you purchase the annual lands pass online, you will be able to download and print a temporary lands pass that is valid for 30 days at the end of the transaction.

If you purchase an annual lands pass by phone, there is no temporary pass available as part of that purchase.

Can I purchase a lands pass for my friend?

Yes. You can purchase a daily (1-day) CDFW lands pass for your friend as a guest customer, without having your friend’s personal information. However, to purchase an annual CDFW lands pass, your friend must have or create a customer profile (see the first FAQ).

If a daily lands pass is good at any lands pass property on the date it is valid, why am I asked where I plan to use it during the purchase process?

Providing this information is not required, but it helps direct lands pass revenue to that property.

How do I get help if I am having difficulty with purchasing a lands pass?

Call (916) 928-5805 (Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., PST) or view the customer support options.

Refunds / Replacements

Can I get a refund of my lands pass fee?

No. Lands passes are not refundable.

Can the valid date for a daily lands pass be changed after it has been purchased?

No. Daily lands passes are only valid for the date that is printed on the pass.

How do I replace a lost or destroyed CDFW annual lands pass?

Only annual CDFW lands passes can be replaced. There are two ways to obtain a duplicate of your annual lands pass:

  1. Go to any License Agent or CDFW License Sales Office and pay the appropriate fee for a Duplicate Annual CDFW Lands Pass.
  2. Visit the Online License Sales and Service website and select “Purchase Duplicate Licenses”. Then select “Duplicate Annual CDFW Lands Pass”, pay the appropriate fee, and check out. It will take 10-15 days for the duplicate to arrive in the mail, however, you will be able to download a temporary pass that is good for 30 days, at the end of the transaction.

More Lands Pass Questions

Why is a lands pass required on certain CDFW properties?

Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are enjoyed by a wide variety of visitors: hikers, birdwatchers, photographers, wildflower enthusiasts, hunters, anglers (people who fish), and more. However, most of the funding used to manage these properties come from two types of visitors: hunters and anglers. To engage all visitors in supporting the areas they appreciate, CDFW has implemented a Lands Pass Program on a limited number of properties since the early 1990s. With recent direction from the Legislature, this program is expanding to 43 properties by 2018.

May I use a lands pass to visit more than one lands pass property in a single day?

Yes, a person can visit multiple lands pass properties during the date that their daily lands pass is valid, and annual lands passes are good on all lands pass properties.

Why are the prices of the lands passes not rounded to the nearest dollar or fifty cents?

Fish and Game Code (Code), Section 1765, established base fees for lands passes in 1988. Code Section 713, directs CDFW to adjust the fee for inflation and round it to the nearest twenty-five cents. Section 700.4 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations requires that CDFW add a 3% “application fee” on top of the base fee to pay for the Automated License Data System. The law does not authorize CDFW to round the application fee; therefore, lands pass fees are not rounded. Additionally, license agents are authorized to charge a 5% agent handling fee to the base fee for the service they provide.

Do I need to have my California hunting or fishing license with me when I when I visit a lands pass property, in order to be exempt from the lands pass requirement? For example, if I just want to visit a property to go hiking or take photographs.

Yes, the regulations require that a visitor have their hunting or fishing license with them in order to be exempt from the lands pass requirement (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 550.5(c)(11)).

Can I laminate my lands pass?

No. Annual lands passes should never be heat laminated as this will destroy the pass. If exposed to extreme heat, the pass will darken. This is also true for either type of lands pass when purchased in-person from a license sales agent or CDFW license office. However, a discolored pass is still valid as long as the text and signature are readable.

Can a lands pass be substituted for a hunting pass?

No. A lands pass cannot be substituted for the daily or seasonal hunting pass that is required for hunting on Type A or Type B wildlife areas.

Where does the money from the sale of lands passes go?

All revenue from the sale of the lands passes is deposited in a dedicated CDFW account known as the "Native Species Conservation and Enhancement Account" and is only available for the management and operation of Department lands. To the extent that CDFW is able to identify where the lands passes are used, it is required to spend no less than 35 percent of the revenue on those properties. This is why, during the process to purchase daily lands passes, CDFW requests the name of the property where the pass will be used (providing that information is optional).

Are CDFW volunteers expected to carry a lands pass?

Not while they are volunteering. If CDFW volunteers or staff visit a lands pass property on a day-off, they are expected to carry a lands pass, hunting license, or fishing license.

Are school groups other than K-12 classes considered exempt from the lands pass requirement?

Yes, pre-school through college and university classes are considered school groups, as well as school science or environmental clubs.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions about lands passes?

For additional questions about purchasing lands passes, please contact the CDFW License and Revenue Branch by email at or by phone at (916) 928-5805. For questions about lands pass properties and regulations, please contact CDFW Lands Program, Wildlife Branch at (916) 373-6627.