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


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

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Immediate Attention:

You will need a federal compliant card such as a passport, military ID, or REAL ID to board a domestic flight or access some federal facilities beginning October 1, 2020. The DMV started offering REAL ID driver licenses and ID cards on January 22, 2018. A field office visit is required to apply for a REAL ID.

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.  One (1) acceptable document is 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 2 items.

If the applicant includes a separate California mailing address on their application, the California address on the residency document must match the mailing address on the application.

Note: If an applicant is applying for a REAL ID compliant card or a Commercial DL, the applicant’s mailing and residence address must be in California.

  • 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 U.S. education institution 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 Vehicle or Vessel Title or Registration.
  • Change of Address Confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service (Form CNL 107).
  • Any document issued by an entity, office, or authority governing over a country, state, county, city, municipality, district, agency, department, or any other political subdivision of a country or state that is typed and contains the agency name, department name, state seal, or is on official letterhead.
  • Property tax bill or statement.
  • Record of any state or national banks, state or federal savings associations, trust companies, industrial loan companies, state or federal credit unions, and any institution or entity that has issued a credit card.
  • An acceptable No Fee Identification Card Eligibility Verification (DL 933) form.
  • 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.

An address is not required to be listed on the following two (2) documents and must list the applicant’s first and last name:

Note: An applicant using one of the two (2) documents listed below can not use a PO BOX as a mailing or residence address.

  • Court document that lists 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.

Important: A Federal Non-Compliant DL card applicant may use a California DL/ID card as proof of residency, provided they are applying for a DL pursuant to AB 60.

Tracing Relationships

If residency document(s) addressed to an applicant are not readily available, the applicant may use an acceptable residency document to trace their relationship to the individual to whom the document(s) are addressed. For example, a child may use residency document(s) in their parents’ name by presenting a birth certificate showing the relationship. The name on the residency document(s) must match the name on the tracing document.

  • If the residency document reflects a name that differs from the tracing document due to name change (for example, marriage, divorce, or court order), additional documentation will be required as evidence of the name change. For example, a child may use a residency document with the mother’s name differing from the birth certificate by also presenting a marriage certificate and/or dissolution of marriage document showing the mother’s last name as shown listed on the residency document.

Note: DMV will only accept an original document or a certified copy of the original as a tracing document.

  • A parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate.
  • A spouse or domestic partner may use a marriage license or domestic partner registration certificate.
  • A minor may use an order of adoption certified and filed by the courts.
  • A minor may use one (1) of the following forms approved and issued by the California Department of Social Services and executed by an agency administering foster care duties.
    • Agency – Group Home agreement (Form SOC 154),
    • Placement Agency – Foster Family Agency Agreement – Child placed by Agency in Foster Family Agency (Form SOC 154A), or
    • Agency – Foster Parents Agreement – Child placed by Agency in Foster Home (Form SOC 156).

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 applicants, applicants who are converting to a REAL ID DL/ID, and Commercial DL 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 applicants who are converting to a REAL ID DL/ID are required to provide proof of California residency.

What if my residency document is in a ‘nickname’?
The applicant’s name on the residency document should be similar to the applicant’s name on his/her acceptable Identity document, true full name document, or DMV record (i.e., Bill Smith or B. Smith for William R. Smith).

Can I have a different mailing address?
Yes. When a REAL ID applicant’s mailing address is a P.O. Box or general delivery, the applicant must provide a document which shows both the mailing and residency address. The address on the residency document 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.

Does the residency document 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 document must match the residence address listed on the driver license application.

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