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California Residency Requirement for New Driver License (DL) and Identification Card (ID) Applicants

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California Residency Requirement for New Driver License (DL) and Identification Card (ID) Applicants

Effective July 1, 2016, pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 1465, all original (first-time) driver license (DL) and/or identification (ID) card applicants must present proof of California residency in addition to meeting all other existing DL/ID card requirements. For more information about obtaining a new DL or ID card, visit the Driver License and Identification Card Information web page.

Proof of California Residency

The list below provides the documents acceptable as proof of California residency.  Two (2) acceptable documents are required. All residency documents must list the applicant’s first and last name, and the California residence address must match the residence address listed on the driver license application, with the exception of the last three (3) items.

  • Rental or lease agreement with the signature of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident.
  • Deed or title to residential real property.
  • Mortgage bill.
  • Home utility bills (including cellular phone).
  • School documents including any document issued by a public or private primary, or secondary, or post-secondary institution, college, or university that either includes the applicant's date of birth, or if a foreign school document, is sealed by the school and includes a photograph of the applicant at the age the record was issued.
  • Medical documents.
  • Employment documents.
  • Faith based documents that include the name and address of the issuing organization.
  • Insurance documents, including medical, dental, vision, life, home, rental, and vehicle.
  • Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return.
  • California Certificate of Title or Registration Card for a vehicle or Certificate of Ownership or Certificate of Number for a vessel.
  • Change of Address Confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service (Form CNL 107).
  • Documents issued by a U.S. government agency.
  • Property tax bill or statement.
  • Records from a financial institution.
  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard issued by the California Secretary of State or a local California county elections officer.
  • Proof of payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher education located in California.
  • An original copy of an approved Claim For Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption (BOE-266) form filed with a local California County Assessor.
  • Court documents that list the applicant as a resident of California.
  • A letter on letterhead from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, nonprofit entity, faith based organization, employer, or government agency within the U.S. attesting that the applicant resides in California.
  • A parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate and a spouse or domestic partner may use a marriage license or domestic partner registration certificate to trace his or her relationship to the individual to whom the two acceptable resident documents have been addressed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this new requirement apply to me if I am renewing my DL/ID card?
No. Only original (first-time) DL/ID card applicants are required to provide proof of California residency.

Does this new requirement apply if I am correcting information on my DL/ID card or if I am changing my name or getting a replacement DL/ID card?
No. Only original (first-time) DL/ID card applicants are required to provide proof of California residency.

What does “two different types” of documents mean?  
This means that original (first-time) DL/ID card applicants must provide a combination of any two documents from the acceptable documents list. For example, an applicant may provide two home utility bills as long as they are not from the same provider. In this case, one utility bill from an electrical provider such as Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and one from a gas provider such as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). Two utility bills from SMUD could not be used.

Do the residency documents have to be in my name?
In most instances, yes; however, there are three (3) residency documents which are not required to have the DL/ID card applicant’s name.

  • Court documents that list the applicant as a resident of California.
  • A letter on letterhead from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, nonprofit entity, faith based organization, employer, or government agency within the U.S. attesting that the applicant resides in California.
  • A parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate and a spouse or domestic partner may use a marriage license or domestic partner registration certificate to trace his or her relationship to the individual to whom the two acceptable resident documents have been addressed.

I don’t have a residency document in my name. What can I do?
All applicants have to provide proof of two documents or they cannot get a DL/ID card.  The only exceptions are for a parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate and a spouse or domestic partner may use a marriage license or domestic partner registration certificate to trace his or her relationship to the individual named in the two acceptable resident documents.

What if my residency documents are in a ‘nickname’?
The applicant’s name on the residency document should be similar to the applicant’s name on his/her acceptable birth date/legal presence/identity document, true full name document, or DMV records (i.e., Bill Smith or B. Smith for William R. Smith).

Can I have a different mailing address?
Yes. When an applicant’s address is a P.O. Box or general delivery, he/she must also provide the address of his/her actual place of residence. The address on the residency documents must match the residency address on the DL/ID card application.  

I don’t want DMV to see personal information like how much I owe to a credit card. Can I black that out?  
Yes. Alterations such as blacking out the “amount due” or “balance” of a credit card or home utility bill are acceptable; however, changes cannot be made to the name or address section of the document.

Are photocopies acceptable or are original documents required?
Photocopies of proof of residency documents are acceptable.

Do the residency documents have to be dated within a certain time period, such as the last six months?
No. There is no limitation regarding the date of an acceptable residency document (i.e., PG&E bill dated 5/29/2001). Again, the California residency documents must match the residence address listed on the driver license application.

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