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How to Apply for California Identification (ID) Card

What type of ID card do I need?

There are 3 types of ID cards in California:

  • 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?

Note: 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 DMV at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.

What is a No Fee and Reduced Fee ID Card?

Generally, a fee is required when applying for a new ID card, renewing an ID card, or changing your name. 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 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.

How do I get an ID card fee waiver (No-fee ID card)?

Any person who can verify his/her status as a homeless person is eligible to receive the ID application fee waiver. You need to:

  • Obtain a DL 933 No Fee Identification Card Eligibility Verification form from a qualified Homeless Service Provider, such as government agency, public social service provider, non-profit agency, etc.
  • Fill out the form and get it signed by the homeless service provider verifying your homeless status
  • Bring the completed form to DMV when you apply for your ID card (REAL ID or Standard ID)

A homeless person is an individual who meets any of the following:

  • Currently at risk of losing permanent housing within the next 14 days
  • Currently without permanent housing
  • Currently not at risk of losing permanent housing in the next 14 days but meets all of the following criteria:
    • Has experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing
    • Has experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves over such period
    • Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment.

For more information, visit Requirements For A California Identification Card (FFDL 6)