How to apply for an identification (ID) card in California
California identification cards can be obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Identification (ID) cards
DMV issues ID cards to persons of any age. The ID card looks like a driver license, but is used for identification purposes only. A regular ID card is valid for six years, and a senior citizen ID card is valid for 10 years. To qualify for a senior citizen ID card, you must be age 62 or older.
Reduced-fee ID card
You may pay a reduced application fee for an original or renewal identification card if you meet income requirements from a public assistance program. If you are eligible, the governmental or non-profit program will give you a completed Verification for Reduced Fee Identification Card form (DL 937) to take to DMV to apply for your reduced fee identification card.
See your local public assistance program agency for information about eligibility requirements and obtaining a DL 937 form.
How to apply for an identification (ID) card
DMV issues two types of ID cards. A regular ID card valid for six years, and a senior citizen ID card valid for 10 years. To qualify for a senior citizen ID card, you must be age 62 or older.
To apply for an ID card you will need to do the following:
- Visit a DMV office
- Make an appointment for faster service.
- Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application form (DL 44). An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.
The department does not provide the DL 44 or DL 44C online because original signatures are required on the form, and each DL 44 or DL 44C contains a unique barcode which must be scanned or keyed by the DMV employee.
To obtain a DL 44 or DL 44C form, call DMV's Automated Telephone Service at 1-800-777-0133 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week) to have a form mailed to you or visit your local DMV office to pick one up.
You will also need to:
- Give a thumb print.
- Have your picture taken.
- Provide your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
- Verify your birth date and legal presence (you may use your California driver license). If your current name no longer matches the name on your BP/LP document, see "True Full Name" and "How to Change Your Name" for more information.
- Present your acceptable residency documents if you have never had a California driver license or California identification card.
- Pay the application fee. (No fee for a senior citizen ID card.)
Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new ID will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you have not received your ID after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status. Have your receipt and/or old ID card with you to provide information when requested.
DMV will exchange a valid license for a no-fee ID card to applicants who are no longer able to drive safely because of a physical or mental condition. Please call your local DMV for additional information.
- More information from the CA DMV website