Frequently Asked Questions about Online License Sales

General

Q: What is a GO ID?

A: A GO ID is a unique number generated and assigned to an individual customer’s record by the Automated License Data System (ALDS), which customers access through CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. This number will appear on all documents purchased through the website and is one of several identification types that may be used to access a customer’s record.

Q: How do I verify my transaction is complete?

A: After you have submitted payment you will receive a link to "Download License / Print Receipts." These documents should be reviewed to verify that the purchases in the transaction are correct. You may also enter an email address and select to receive a confirmation email during the checkout process. Additionally, you may also access your customer record at any time to view all of your active licenses.

Q: To purchase a license online for myself, what information do I need to provide?

A: To purchase a license for yourself, you must provide your name, residence address, residency status, an accepted identity type (DMV ID, passport, green card, military ID, etc.), date of birth, height, weight, hair color, and eye color.

Q: How can I obtain a duplicate license if I lose my license that was purchased online?

A: To obtain a duplicate license, go to any license agent, CDFW license sales office, or log in to the Online License Sales and Services website.

Q: To purchase a license online for another person, what information do I need to provide?

A: To purchase a license for another person who does not already have a customer record on file with the Department, the person's name, residence address, residency status, Identification (DMV ID, passport, green card, military ID, etc.), date of birth, height, weight, hair color, and eye color are required.

If the person already has an existing customer record on file with the Department, the person's last name, date of birth, and Identification on file (GOID, DMV ID, passport, green card, military ID, etc.) are required.

Q: What devices and Internet browsers are supported?

A: The Online License Sales and Services has been designed and tested using the following devices and Internet browsers:

  • iPhone 6: Safari 9
  • iPad 4: Safari 9
  • Galaxy S6: Chrome 49
  • Galaxy Tab S2: Chrome 49
  • MacBook Pro: Safari 9
  • PC/Laptop: Internet Explorer 11
  • PC/Laptop: Win10 Edge
  • PC/Laptop: Chrome 49
  • PC/Laptop: Firefox 45

Devices and Internet browsers not listed here (e.g., Opera, Silk, etc.) may experience display inconsistencies and/or technical difficulties using the Online License Sales and Services. Additionally, any browser used must utilize 128-bit encryption, which is the highest-level protection possible whenever you use a credit/debit cards or make other financial or confidential transactions over the internet.

Q: What should I do if I receive a "come back later" message and am unable to complete my purchase?

A: Complete the following steps before attempting to purchase another license:

  • Confirm that you are using a compatible browser (see prior question). Update your browser as needed.
  • Clear your temporary internet files and cookies

Q: What forms of payment are accepted?

A: Online purchases may only be made with a credit or debit card displaying a Visa or Mastercard logo.

Q: Will I be charged a shipping fee?

A: No. You will not be charged a shipping fee when Standard Shipment is selected (default). However, if you elect to ship via Expedited Shipment, there is a $22.00 shipping fee. You may modify your preferred shipping method in the Checkout Page under Shipping Type.

Sport Fishing

Q: Which sport fishing license items can be purchased online?

A: The following sport fishing licenses, validations, and report cards may be purchased online through the Online License Sales and Services website:

  • Annual Sport Fishing Licenses (Valid January 1 to December 31)
    • Resident Sport Fishing License
    • Nonresident Sport Fishing License
  • Short-Term Sport Fishing License
    • One-Day Sport Fishing License
    • Two-Day Sport Fishing License
    • Ten-Day Nonresident Sport Fishing License
  • Sport Fishing Validations (these may be purchased in the same transaction with a sport fishing license)
    • Second-Rod Validation
    • Sport Ocean Enhancement Validation
  • Sport Fishing Report Cards
    • North Coast Salmon Report Card
    • Spiny Lobster Report Card (available August 15 of every year)
    • Steelhead Report Card
    • Sturgeon Fishing Report Card
  • Gift Voucher for a Resident Annual Sport Fishing License

Q: I already have a sport fishing license. Can I buy only the validations online?

A: Yes. Use the GO ID from your sport fishing license when retrieving your customer profile to ensure proper retrieval of your customer profile. Because you purchased the sport fishing validations separate from your sport fishing license, they will be printed on a separate document. Carry both documents with you while fishing.

Q: Where can I see a complete list of California sport fishing licenses and their requirements?

A: A complete list of California sport fishing licenses and their requirements is available on the Sport Fishing Licenses and Report Cards page.

Q: If I purchase a license online, when will it become effective?

A: If purchased after January 1, your license will be valid immediately. If you purchase a short-term sport fishing license, you will print it on your printer at the end of your transaction. When you purchase an annual sport fishing license online, you will print a temporary license document that is valid immediately and will allow you to fish for up to 30 days until you receive your sport fishing license in the mail. A working printer is required to print short-term and temporary license documents.

Hunting

Q: What documentation is accepted as proof of completing hunter education?

A: Before your first hunting license can be issued through ALDS, you must present one of the following as proof of completing hunter education:

  • an annual California hunting license issued in any prior year;
  • a two-day nonresident California hunting license issued after the 1999/2000 license year;
  • a California certificate of hunter education completion or equivalency with a unique number imprinted on it ex: (AA00000) or a California hunter education certificate with no unique number imprinted and a California hunter education validation stamp affixed;
  • a certificate of successful completion of a California-approved hunter education course from any state or province; or
  • a current hunting license or hunting license issued in either of the two previous years from any state, province, European country, or South Africa. For more information, on hunter education requirements or hunter education classes, contact any CDFW License Sales Office or visit the CDFW web site at: https://wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

Q: Which hunting license items can be purchased online?

A: The following hunting licenses, validations, and tags can be purchased online. To purchase a hunting license online, proof of the customer’s hunter education must be entered into the Automated License Data System (ALDS) prior to purchase. If hunter education is not on file in ALDS, you must present proof of hunter education at a license agent or CDFW license sales office prior to purchasing a hunting license. Alternatively, you may contact CDFW at LRB@wildlife.ca.gov and request a secure document upload link to provide an acceptable form of hunter education and your personal identification so your hunter education can be updated in ALDS.

  • Hunting Licenses
    • Resident Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Nonresident Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Junior Hunting License (Valid July 1 to June 30)
    • Disabled Veteran Hunting License (Available annually after eligibility criteria has been verified and entered into ALDS at a CDFW license sales office)
    • Two-Day Nonresident Hunting License
    • One-Day Nonresident Hunting License
        
  • Hunting Validations (these may be purchased in the same transaction with a hunting license)
  • Tags
    • First Deer (non-draw tags)
    • Second Deer (non-draw tags)
    • Bear
    • Wild Pig
        
  • Big Game Drawing (You can now submit applications online)  
    • First Deer Tag Drawing Application
    • Second Deer Tag Drawing Application (Junior Hunters Only)
    • Elk Tag Drawing Application
    • Pronghorn Antelope Tag Drawing Application
    • Bighorn Sheep Tag Drawing Application
    • Fund-Raising Drawing - Open Zone Deer Tag
    • Fund-Raising Drawing - Elk Tag
        
  • Waterfowl Reservation Applications and Passes
    • Season-Long Reservation Application
    • Multiple Choice Reservation Application
    • Type-A Season Pass
    • Type-B Season Pass
    • Type-A Two-Day Pass
    • Type-A One Day Pass

Q: If I purchase a Type A Wildlife Area Pass online, can I print it at home for immediate use.

A: No. Wildlife area passes purchased online are mailed to the customer. Allow 15 days for shipping. If you need a pass for use in less than 15 days, visit any license agent, or CDFW license sales office.

Q: Can my hunting party apply online as a party?

A: Yes. Members of a party can apply online in separate transactions, but not in the same transaction. Online sales can only process one customer per transaction. The first party member will become the party leader. The party leader’s Big Game Drawing Receipt will have the Party Identification Number printed on it. The party leader can give this number out to the other members of his/her hunting party. When other members apply online, they will enter the Party Identification Number in the drawing application screen; it will bring up the hunting party and link the members to the party. The members will be assigned the same tag choices in the same order as the party leader and you will all be in the drawing together. Party applications may be made up of transactions submitted through the Internet, CDFW license sales office and license agents.

Password Protection (through Customer Record Security Settings)

To enable Auto-Renewal, customers are required to enable Customer Record Security Settings (CRSS) first. CRSS requires customers to add an email address to their customer record if one isn’t already on file, complete an email address validation process, and add a password to their customer record. Once CRSS has been enabled, the customer will be prompted to enter the password each time they access their customer record online.

Q: Why do I have to provide a valid email address?

A: A valid email address is required to enable CRSS and enroll in Auto-Renewal. Verifying your email address helps ensure the quality of our data, improves the ability to protect data, and allows us to notify you when certain changes are made to your customer record and Auto-Renewal settings.

Q: During the email validation process, when does my email validation code expire?

A: The email validation code will expire 20 minutes after it is sent to you. If you do not receive the email, check your spam or junk email folders and double check that the email address you entered when you started the process is correct. If the validation code expires, you will need to restart the email validation process to obtain a new email validation code.

Q: I forgot my password. Can CDFW staff reset or disable it for me?

A: No. You must reset your forgotten password through the Online License Sales and Services website. CDFW staff cannot reset or change your password for you.

Q: Can CDFW staff change my customer profile email address after CRSS has been enabled?

A: No. You must edit your email address through the Online License Sales and Services website.

Auto-Renewal

As of Sunday, November 15, 2020, sport anglers in California will have the option of signing up for automated renewal of their fishing licenses, report cards, and validations through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Online License Sales and Services website. If the customer chooses this option and has a current payment method on file with CDFW, their license and other selected items will be automatically renewed and mailed to them in subsequent license years.

Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions about Auto-Renewal.

How does it work?

Q: What is Auto-Renewal?

A: Auto-Renewal is an option that allows customers to authorize CDFW to automatically charge their credit card for annual sport fishing licenses, report cards, and validations prior to their expiration dates. This convenient option means that anglers no longer need to worry about lapses in licensure occurring during transitions to new license years.

Once a customer applies Auto-Renewal to specific sport fishing license items, those items will be automatically renewed on November 15 of the preceding license year and mailed directly to the customer. For example, applying Auto-Renewal to a 2021 sport fishing license will result in a 2022 sport fishing license being automatically purchased on November 15, 2021, and mailed to the customer before the 2022 license year begins on January 1, 2022.

CDFW will not enroll customers in Auto-Renewal without their consent; they must choose the option within the Online License Sales and Services website after logging in to their customer record. The process only takes a few minutes. Customers will be asked to validate their email address, set up a password, provide a payment method, and choose the items they want to have automatically renew. Customers may only apply Auto-Renewal to items they are purchasing online or have already purchased and are still valid.

Q: What items are eligible for Auto-Renewal?

A: Only the following items are currently available for Auto-Renewal.

  • Sport Fishing Annual Licenses
    • Resident
    • Nonresident
    • Disabled Veteran
    • Recovering Service Member
    • Lifetime
    • Developmentally Disabled (Developmentally Impaired)
    • Mobility Impaired
    • Blind (Visually Impaired)
    • Voucher Redemption (automatically renews as a fee-based resident sport fishing license)
  • Report Cards
    • North Coast Salmon
    • North Coast Salmon Lifetime
    • Steelhead
    • Steelhead Lifetime
    • Sturgeon
    • Spiny Lobster 
  • Validations
    • Ocean Enhancement
    • Ocean Enhancement Lifetime
    • Second-Rod
    • Second-Rod Lifetime 

Q: Why isn’t Auto-Renewal available for my Low-Income Senior or Native American Sport Fishing License?

A: Certain items that require proof of eligibility are not available through Auto-Renewal. These items must be purchased in person at a CDFW office or by mail. If license counters are closed, please call or email your local CDFW office for more information.

Q: Why can’t other types of licenses issued by CDFW be automatically renewed (hunting licenses, commercial fishing licenses, falconry licenses, etc.)?

A: At this time, Auto-Renewal is a pilot program limited to sport fishing items. CDFW will be evaluating its effect on staff workload as well as talking to customers about their experiences and looking for ways to refine the process and improve customer service. CDFW expects to expand Auto-Renewal to other CDFW items in the future.

Q:  After logging in to my customer record online, why don't I see the option to add Auto-Renewal to a sport fishing item I am trying to purchase online or have already purchased online, from a license agent, or through a CDFW license sales office?

A: To enable Auto-Renewal, you must first set up the Customer Record Security Settings (CRSS) by verifying your email address and establishing a password for your customer record. The password is a required security feature, in addition to your personal information already used to access your customer record, due to the storage of your credit card information.

Q: How do I know Auto-Renewal is secure?

A: To enable Auto-Renewal, customers are required to enable Customer Record Security Settings (CRSS). CRSS requires customers to validate their email address and add a password to their customer record. Once CRSS has been enabled, the customer will be prompted to enter the password each time they access their customer record online.

Q: Can you remove items from Auto-Renewal, once it’s selected?

A: Yes. You can remove items from Auto-Renewal, by deselecting the items from the Auto-Renewal List or you can remove all items by selecting the “Disable Auto-Renewal” button and opting out Auto-Renewal. For assistance, contact CDFW at (916) 928-2537 or LRB@wildlife.ca.gov.

Q: I’ve applied Auto-Renewal to my annual sport fishing license and second rod validation but have decided I only want the sport fishing license to be renewed automatically. Can I cancel the Auto-Renewal of my second rod validation?

A: Yes. You can remove any items you’ve applied Auto-Renewal to by deselecting the items from the Auto-Renewal Selection List under your customer record. You can also cancel Auto-Renewal for all items by selecting the “Disable Auto-Renewal” button and opting out of Auto-Renewal entirely. For assistance, contact CDFW at (916) 928-2537 or LRB@wildlife.ca.gov.

Q: If I have a Lifetime License, will I be automatically enrolled in Auto-Renewal?

A: No. If you have a Lifetime License you will have to manually log in to your customer record through the Online License Sales and Services website and choose the Auto-Renewal option. You will also be required to enter your credit card information even though no fee will be charged for the renewal of your lifetime license. Your stored credit card information can be used for subsequent purchases of other license items sold through the Online License Sales and Services website.

Q: Can I set up Auto-Renewal when buying a license from a license agent or at a CDFW license sales office?

A: No. The only way to enroll in Auto-Renewal is through our Online License Sales and Services website. License agents, CDFW sales offices, and telephone sales representatives cannot set up the required Customer Record Security Settings and credit card information for a customer’s record. However, regardless of how you purchased your license, you have the ability to enroll the license in Auto-Renewal at a later date by logging into your customer record through our Online License Sales and Services website.

Q: Can I enroll in Auto-Renewal if I already purchased my CDFW item(s)?

A: Yes. If you already purchased a CDFW item that is eligible for Auto-Renewal, you can enroll  by logging into your customer record through the Online License Sales and Services website.

Q: If I apply Auto-Renewal to a report card and forget to report my harvest at the end of the year, will I still be automatically issued the same report card the following license year?

A: Yes. For report cards that require non-reporting fees if harvests are not reported by their specified deadlines, the report cards will be automatically renewed and you will be charged the associated harvest non-reporting fees. The only report card currently subject to a non-reporting fee is the Spiny Lobster Report Card. The following report cards may be purchased more than once in a license year: North Coast Salmon Report Card, Spiny Lobster Report Card, and Steelhead Report Card.

Customers who are enrolled in Auto-Renewal will receive two reminder emails listing all items scheduled for Auto-Renewal. The emails will be sent 30 days and 7 days prior to the scheduled Auto-Renewal (November 15 of each year). The emails will include the cost for each item, the total dollar amount to be charged to the credit card on file (including harvest non-reporting fees if applicable), and the address the items will be mailed to before the start of the next license year.

Q: If I apply Auto-Renewal to my Steelhead Report Card and purchase a second Steelhead Report Card later during the same license year, will I automatically receive two Steelhead Report Cards the following license year?

A: No. Applying Auto-Renewal to a report card will only result in a single report card being automatically renewed the following license year, regardless of you purchasing additional report cards for the same species. The following report cards may be purchased more than once in a license year: North Coast Salmon Report Card, Spiny Lobster Report Card, and Steelhead Report Card.

Payment

Q: What methods of payment are accepted?

A: At this time, only credit or debit cards displaying a Visa or Mastercard logo are acceptable.

Q: If I choose Auto-Renewal, will I be notified before my credit card is charged?

A: Yes. Sport fishing items, which are valid as of January 1 of each year, will be automatically renewed on November 15 of the preceding year. Customers who are enrolled in Auto-Renewal will receive two reminder emails listing all items scheduled for Auto-Renewal. The emails will be sent 30 days and 7 days prior to the scheduled Auto-Renewal. The emails will include the cost for each item, the total dollar amount to be charged to your credit card, and the address to which the items will be mailed after the Auto-Renewal occurs.

Q: If I want to cancel Auto-Renewal, do I have to do it by a certain date?

A: Yes. All sport fishing items enrolled in Auto-Renewal will be processed on November 15. Any cancellations or modifications must be completed the day before (November 14) to prevent your credit card from being charged.

Q: How can I update my credit card information?

A: You must log in to the Online License Sales and Services website to modify your credit card information. 

Q: What happens if my credit card expires before the next license year?

A: The credit card must be updated before the Auto-Renewal is processed on November 15. If your credit card is not updated, Auto-Renewal items will not be processed. You can update your credit card information after logging in to your customer record using the Online License Sales and Services website.  

Q: How will I know my CDFW items were successfully processed through Auto-Renewal?

A: You will receive an email containing the cost of each item, confirmation that the method of payment was accepted with the total dollar amount charged, the Auto-Renewal was successfully processed, and the address to which the items will be mailed to within the following 15 business days.

Q: I added my credit card to my customer record and later saw a $0.01 charge against the card from RAO*CA HUNT&FISH. Why did this happen?

A: To ensure your credit card is valid, a $0.01 preauthorization check is completed and immediately credited back to your card. The charge and credit will both appear on your statement as RAO*CA HUNT&FISH.

Q: Can a friend or family member apply their credit card to my customer record to be used for Auto-Renewal and/or the purchase of additional items online?

A: The system requires the following information to apply a credit or debit card to a customer record: name printed on the card, card number, expiration month and year, and three-digit security code. If the aforementioned information is provided, any valid card displaying the Visa or Mastercard logo may be used.