Identification (ID) cards are used to prove your identity or age (like driver licenses) but they do not allow you to operate a motor vehicle.
In California, DMV may issue an ID card to a person of any age. There are three types of ID cards:
- REAL ID card: Starting October 1, 2021, you must present a federal compliant ID (such as a passport, military ID, or a REAL ID) to board a domestic flight or enter certain secure federal facilities like military bases, federal courthouses, or other federal buildings.
- Standard ID card: Starting October 1, 2021, the standard ID card will no longer be accepted for use boarding domestic flights or entering federal facilities. It will, however, continue to be used to prove identity and age. Standard ID cards are valid for six birthdates after the application date.
- Senior citizen ID card: Seniors 62 years old or older are eligible for a no-fee senior citizen ID card. Valid for eight birthdates after the application date.
How to Apply for an ID Card
To apply for an ID card:
- Complete a Driver License (DL) or ID Card Application.
- Visit a DMV office, where you will:
- Provide your social security number (SSN).
- Verify your identity with an acceptable identity document. Your current name needs to match the name on the identity document.
- Present acceptable residency documents (if you have never had a California DL/ID card).
- Pay the nonrefundable application fee (see below for information about reduced- and no-fee ID cards).
- Have your thumbprint scanned.
- Have your photo taken.
- If you want to apply for a REAL ID, you must also provide proof of your identity, SSN, and two proofs of residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID documents.
Your name must match on all documents, including your SSN card. If your name doesn’t match on your SSN card, you will need to go to the nearest Social Security office to present documentation to change your name on your SSN card, and then go to a DMV field office to apply for your ID card.
You will receive your new ID card via mail within 3-4 weeks. If you have not received your new ID card after 60 days, call us at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.
Reduced Fee ID Cards
Generally, there is a nonrefundable fee to apply for a new ID card, to renew an ID card, or to change your name on your ID card. In certain circumstances, the fee may be waived or reduced:
- Reduced fee ID card: You may be eligible to pay a reduced application fee for an original or renewal ID card if you meet income requirements for selected governmental or non-profit assistance programs. If you are eligible, the program will give you a completed Verification for Reduced Fee Identification Card (DL 937) form to take to DMV office. See your local public assistance program agency for information about eligibility requirements and obtaining a DL 937.
- No-fee ID card: You may be eligible for a no-fee ID card if you are a “homeless person” as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act. This includes (but isn’t limited to) a homeless child or youth, a homeless person, or an individual or family fleeing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or another dangerous, life-threatening condition.
- Senior ID card: To qualify for a no-fee senior citizen ID card, you must be at least 62 years old.
The name on my identity document isn’t my current name. How do I change it?
Your current true full name (first, middle, last) needs to appear on your identity document. If you need to make a name change, learn how you can update info on your DL/ID card.
Need something else?
Replace Your DL/ID Card
Find out how to replace lost, stolen, or damaged DL/ID cards.
Update Info on Your DL/ID Card
Change the address, name, or gender category on your DL/ID card.
REAL ID cards
Starting on October 1, 2021, you’ll need a federal compliant card such as a passport, military ID, or REAL ID to board a domestic flight or access some federal facilities.