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How to Apply for a California Identification Card

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Identification Cards

If you don't have a California drivers license or another form of photo ID, a CA DMV ID card can be the perfect alternative. ID cards can be used for tasks such as:

  • Voting
  • Travel
  • Opening bank accounts

Providing proof of your name, birth date, and a photo ID, identification cards are very helpful whenever you need to demonstrate proof of your identity.

More Important Information on ID Cards

California ID Card Fees

Every ID card has its price. Fortunately, regardless of the process you are going through to obtain one, you will be paying the same fee:

  • Original CA identification card: $28
  • ID card replacement: $28
  • ID card renewal: $28
  • Senior citizen ID card: FREE

Each identification card is valid for a period of six years. However, you can only pay these fees with cash, check, money order, or ATM/debit cards. Credit cards cannot be used to make payments at DMV locations in California.

How to Apply for a CA ID Card

If you want to apply for ID card credentials in the state of California, you are free to do so at any age. The CA Department of Motor Vehicles issues two kinds of ID cards:

  • The standard ID card
  • The senior citizen ID card (for California drivers/residents over 62)

However, in order to obtain either, you are required to go to a California DMV office in person. Once here, you will be asked to:

  • Submit a completed Driver License or Identification Card Application, which you will find at the DMV.
  • Provide your Social Security Number.
  • One proof of birthdate/legal presence in the United States (only originals or certified copies):
    • California drivers license
    • U.S. passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Green Card a.k.a. I-551 Form (non-U.S. citizens)
    • I-551 stamp on passport (non-U.S. citizens)
  • One proof of name change, if necessary (only originals or certified copies):
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce decree
    • Court order
  • Provide your thumbprint.
  • Take a picture for the ID card.

Note: The California DMV does not offer veteran designations on identification cards.

Voter Registration

As long as you meet all of the following criteria, you will be able to register to vote in the state of California if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are a resident of California.
  • You are at least 18 years old on the day of election.
  • You are not in prison or on parole.
  • You are not found mentally incompetent by a court.

However, if you need help filling out your voter registration form, or simply don't want to go through any trouble in registering to vote, offers you a comprehensive voter registration service that can help you do just that.

How to Renew an ID Card in California

All standard identification cards must be renewed every six years in the state of California. However, senior citizen IDs must be renewed every 10 years. There are three ways that you can renew ID card documents in California, including:

  • Online.
  • In person.
  • By mail.


In order to renew your identification card online, you will have to have:

  • A renewal notice from the CA DMV.
  • A Social Security Number on the DMV records.
  • A credit card or bank account for payment of fees.
  • The same address and name that the DMV has on file.

If you meet the qualifications, you can visit the CA DMV website and renew your credentials.

In Person

In order to renew your ID card in person, you will have to do the following while at the local DMV office:

  • Submit a driver license or identification card application
  • Get your picture taken
  • Provide your thumbprint
  • Pay the $28 issue fee:
    • The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards

You can expect your new ID card to arrive by mail within 60 days.

By Mail

To see if you qualify to mail in your identification card application, you must check these eligibility requirements:

  • Your identification card has not been expired for longer than one year
  • You are not making any correction to your ID card, including name or address changes
  • The last time you renewed your identification card was in person

If you meet the requirements provided by the CA DMV, you will be able to fill out and send in a California Identification Card Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form, along with a check or money order for the $28 fee, payable to DMV, if you are younger than 62.

How to Replace a CA ID Card

The state of California limits the ways that you can replace ID card credentials. In fact, the only way that you can do so is to go in person to one of the various DMV locations in your area and complete the replacement process in person. You will need to bring:

  • A filled-out driver license or identification card application
  • $28 payment for application fee:
    • The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards

Proof of date of birth or legal presence is not necessary for ID card replacement. However, you will have to get your picture and thumbprint taken. Furthermore, you are required to replace ID card documents if your current identification card was:

  • Stolen.
  • Lost.
  • Damaged to the point where pertinent information is illegible.

If you are out-of-state and require a replacement, you will have to wait until you return to the state of California to apply.

Report a Stolen ID Card

If your identification card has been taken from you, it is recommended that you contact local authorities. By filing a report with the California police, you will be protecting your identity and making sure that the police will be able to contact you if your card ever comes up. If you contact the CA DMV directly, you can find out if they will waive the replacement fee because you filed a police report.


If you want to be able to travel outside of the United States, you must apply for passport documents. However, that is not the only way this booklet can be used. Say, for instance, that you do not have enough proofs of identity to renew ID card credentials. If that is the case, you can get a passport that features your:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Nationality.
  • Social Security Number.

With a passport, completing an ID card application becomes that much easier, and has its own trusted digital tool to help you fill out the necessary forms.

Out-of-State Drivers

For those California drivers that are currently out-of-state, there is no need to worry about the validity of your CA ID card. Identification cards remain active as long as you are a resident of the state of California. However, if you establish residency in another state, the identification card will no longer be valid.
The California Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues non-driver identification cards to State residents who don't have a valid ID card, driver license or instruction permits from the State or any other jurisdiction. The ID card can be used to prove your identity, age, and residence in a variety of situations. The identification card is valid for six years and if you are older than 62, it is valid for ten years. The ID card expires on your birthday six years after it was issued.

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