DMV Begins Issuing New California Driver Licenses, ID Cards

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
2415 First Avenue, MS F-122
Sacramento, CA 95818
Contact: DMV Public Affairs

October 6, 2010


New Card Features Enhanced Security, Will Replace Old Cards Upon Expiration

Click on images below for full resolution

New driver License

New Dirver License New Provisional License and under 21 card Identification Card Reverse Side of All Cards Driver License issued prior to September 30, 2010

Sacramento – Today, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced the issuance of newly designed, more secure California driver licenses and identification cards. The new cards are distinguished by additional security features and will have a different look and feel.

Details of the changes to the card were presented and unveiled today at a press conference held at the DMV field office in South Sacramento. 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."

Information included on the new cards remains the same, but is presented in a new way that improves readability and ease of use. 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 earlier this week, existing ID or driver license cardholders are not required to get a new card.

"It is very important to understand that cardholders are not required to get new cards until the expiration date printed on their current cards." said Director Valverde. “Remember, when it is time to renew your card, DMV has many services that are offered online to help customers avoid going into the field offices."

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

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Don’t Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (, including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133.

DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Secretary Dale E. Bonner. The DMV licenses drivers; maintains driving records; registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels; investigates auto and identity-related fraud; and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools.


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