New California Driver Licenses, ID Cards

Since October 2010, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued a newly designed, more secure California driver license and identification card. The new cards are equipped with the latest in document security technology and have several features to protect them against fraud, tampering and counterfeiting.

"The new security features, coupled with advanced technology, make California driver licenses and identification cards one of the most secure identification documents in the country," said DMV Director George Valverde. "We are confident that they will be well-received by residents, businesses and law enforcement officials."

Some of the new features include a vertical layout for persons under 21; the cardholder's date of birth and signatures that can be felt by touch; images that can be seen only with the use of ultraviolet lights; a 2D bar code on the back of the card that replicates and verifies only the information on the front of the card (similar to the current magnetic stripe); and a laser perforation outline of the California Brown Bear, which can be seen from the front of the card when a flashlight is pressed against the back of the card.

Annually, the DMV issues more than 8.25 million driver license and ID cards to Californians. It is of the utmost importance that these documents are safe, authentic, secure, and accurate to properly identify each individual cardholder. More importantly, these cards have been designated as the primary identification documents in the state. This is the first major revision of California driver licenses and ID cards since 2001.

While new cards began to be issued in October, 2010, existing ID or driver license cardholders are not required to get a new card until the expiration date printed on their current cards. If you've recently applied for a driver license or ID card, you will receive the new card within 2-3 weeks. If you have not received the card after 4 weeks, call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 or via email at to inquire about the delay.

For more information on the new driver license and ID card or to conduct other DMV business online, visit

New driver License