Requirements For A California Driver License/Identification (DL/ID) Card

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Identity Requirements for an Original DL/ID Card

When you apply for an original California driver license/Identification (DL/ID) card, you must present:

  • An acceptable birth date/legal presence (BD/LP) document(s).
  • An acceptable true full name document if the name of your BD/LP document is different from the name on your DL/ID card application.
  • Your social security number (SSN). It will be verified with the Social Security Administration (SSA) while you are in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. You must also provide verification of your SSN to change an existing SSN on DMV's database.

For additional application requirements, refer to the California Driver Handbook or visit www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/pubs.htm.

What is an Acceptable Document?

An acceptable BD/LP or name change document is one produced by an issuing authority such as a county, state, or federal agency. Documents issued by Vital Statistics offices will be a certified copy of the original (the original is always retained by the issuing authority) and will contain an impressed seal or an original stamped impression. Other issuing agencies may issue you original documents. After being presented at a DMV office, your document will be returned to you. DMV does not accept photocopies of documents for BD/LP or true full name verification.

NOTE: A visa is not acceptable as evidence of legal presence in the United States (U.S.).

What Is a True Full Name?

Your true full name appears on your BD/LP document. If you change your name, then you must provide one of the following documents to verify your name change:

  • Adoption documents that contain the legal name as a result of the adoption.
  • A name change document that contains the legal name both before and after the name change.
  • Marriage certificate (issued from a government agency).
  • Dissolution of marriage/domestic partnership document that contains the legal name as a result of the court action.
  • A certificate, declaration, or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership.

List of Acceptable BD/LP Documents

Present one of the following for a DL/ID card application.

  • U.S. Birth Certificate or U.S. Passport.
  • U.S. Certificate or Report of Birth Abroad (issued by the U.S. Department of State).
  • Federal Proof of Indian Blood Degree (issued by U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs).
  • American Indian Card (I-551) (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS]).
  • Birth Certificate or passport issued from a U.S. territory.
  • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (issued by USCIS).
  • U.S. Military Identification Cards.
  • Common Access Card (only if designated as Active Military or Active Reserve or Active Selected Reserve).
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship (issued by USCIS).
  • Northern Mariana Card (issued by USCIS).
  • Permanent Resident Card (issued by USCIS).
  • Temporary Resident Identification Card (issued by USCIS).
  • Canadian passport or birth certificate.
  • Nonresident Alien Canadian border crossing card (issued by USCIS).
  • Valid foreign passport with a valid Record of Arrival/Departure (Form I-94) (issued by USCIS).
  • Certification from California Department of Corrections or California Youth Authority.
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by USCIS).
  • "Processed for I-551" stamped in a valid foreign passport (issued by USCIS).
  • Permanent Resident Re-entry Permit (issued by USCIS).
  • Refugee Travel Document (issued by USCIS).
  • Valid I-94 stamped "Refugee," "Parole or Parolee," "Asylee," or Section 207, Section 208, Section 209, Section 212d(2), HP or PIP (issued by USCIS).
  • Valid I-94 with attached photo stamped "Temporary evidence of lawful admission for permanent residence" (issued by USCIS).
  • Notice of Action (I-797 Approved Petition) (issued by USCIS) – must indicate approved extension of stay or change in status that grants temporary or permanent residency, or indicates that an original, duplicate or renewal Resident Alien card is forthcoming.
  • Immigration judge's order granting asylum.
  • Mexican border crossing card with valid I-94 (issued by USCIS).
  • Certified court order or judgment issued from a court of competent jurisdiction. Must contain name, birth date, place of birth, legal presence status, and judge's signature.

Electronic I-94

If you receive a stamp on your foreign country passport in lieu of a paper Form I-94, you must visit the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) website at www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy of your electronic I-94. The I-94 printout, along with the stamped passport, is required before DMV can process your DL/ID card application.

Changing Your Name

To change your name, bring in your old DL/ID card and an acceptable name change document. There is a fee to change your name on your DL/ID card (there is no fee for a senior citizen ID card). Another picture and thumb print will be taken.

What Are the Requirements for a Name Change Document?

The name change documents listed in the list of Acceptable BD/LP Document section must be:

  • Provided by an authorized U.S. governmental agency or foreign jurisdiction.
  • A legible and unaltered original or certified copy.
  • Used only for a change of name on an existing California DL/ID card or when the name on your BD/LP document is different from the name on your DL/ID card application form.

Do You Need to Replace Documents?

If you need to replace or obtain your birth date/ legal presence (BD/LP) document, refer to the Vital Statistics information on the outside panel or visit www.vitalrec.com. Immigration-related service and benefit functions of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the USCIS. The customer service phone number and website for USCIS is listed on the back panel.

Why Is DMV so Careful About Identification?

It is critical that identification documents and systems be authentic and accurate in order to positively and uniquely identify each individual. The California legislature has declared the California driver license and identification DL/ID card as the primary identification documents in this state. California state law requires that all applicants for an original California DL/ ID card submit proof of legal presence in the United States (U.S.) as authorized under federal law. Your true full name, as shown on your legal presence document and/or your name change document, will appear on your DL/ID card. These requirements help safeguard the accuracy and integrity of the documents issued by the DMV.

Vital Statistics Offices – States

Call to request a "Full Record" certified copy of your birth certificate or visit www.vitalrec.com. Order an authorized copy of your vital record. "Informational copies" of documents and/or documents with the statement "Informational, not a valid document to establish identity" or any similar statement, will not be accepted for DL/ID card or name change applications.

NOTE: These phone numbers are subject to change without notice.

Alabama (334) 206-5418 
Alaska   (907) 465-3391 
Arizona   (602) 364-1300 
Arkansas (501) 661-2174 
California (916) 445-2684 
Colorado (303) 692-2200 
Connecticut   (860) 509-7897 
Delaware   (302) 744-4549 
District of Columbia   (202) 671-5000 
Florida   (904) 359-6900 ext. 1029 
Georgia   (404) 679-4702 
Hawaii   (808) 586-4533 
Idaho   (208) 334-5988 
Illinois   (217) 782-6553 
Indiana   (317) 233-2700 
Iowa (515) 281-4944 
Kansas (785) 296-1400 
Kentucky (502) 564-4212 
Louisiana   (504) 219-4500 
Maine (207) 287-3181 
Maryland (800) 832-3277 
Massachusetts   (617) 740-2600 
Michigan (517) 335-8666 
Minnesota   (651) 201-5970 
Mississippi   (601) 576-7450 
Missouri (573) 751-6387 
Montana (888) 877-1946 
Nebraska (402) 471-2871 
Nevada (775) 684-4242 
New Hampshire   (603) 271-4654 
New Jersey   (866) 649-8726 
New Mexico   (866) 534-0051 
New York (518) 474-3070 
New York City   (212) 788-4520 
North Carolina   (919) 733-3526 
North Dakota   (701) 328-2360 
Ohio (614) 466-2531 
Oklahoma   (405) 271-4040 
Oregon (971) 673-1190 
Pennsylvania   (724) 656-3100 
Rhode Island   (401) 222-2811 
South Carolina   (803) 898-3630 
South Dakota   (605) 773-4961 
Tennessee   (615) 741-1763 
Texas (512) 458-7111 
Utah (801) 538-6105 
Vermont (802) 863-7275 
Virginia (804) 662-6200 
Washington   (360) 236-4300 
West Virginia   (304) 558-2931 
Wisconsin   (608) 266-1371 
Wyoming (307) 777-7591 

Vital Statistics Offices — Territories and U.S. Possessions

Call to request a "Full Record" certified copy of your birth certificate or visit www.vitalrec.com.

American Samoa   (684) 633-1406 
Canal Zone   (202) 955-0307 
Guam   (671) 735-7292 
Puerto Rico   (787) 767-9120 
Virgin Islands: St. Croix,
St. Thomas, and St. John  
(340) 774-9000, ext. 4685 or 4686 
Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands 
(670) 236-8717 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Bureau of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

National Customer Service Center  1-800-375-5283 

For a list of local USCIS offices visit www.uscis.gov.

U.S. Department of State

For U.S. citizen born abroad  (202) 955-0307 

NOTE: All phone numbers are subject to change without notice.

FFDL 05 (REV. 8/2013)