Real California ID Cards

If you are a California driver and do not have a passport, you can use a Real California Identification card or Real ID driver license for identification purposes. This card can be used to vote, travel, and open a bank account. Check out: Applying for a new CA drivers license in CA 18+ or applying for a new license (for teens) if you are interested in getting a CA driver license or id cards.

CA ID Card Application

People of any age may apply for a CA ID card or driver’s license online, at a local field office, or at one of several federal facilities. The main difference between a driver's license and CA id card is that a driver's license permits you to drive a car. The following ID cards may be issued:

  • A regular ID card.
  • A senior-citizen ID card (62 years or older).

A California driver must visit your local CA DMV field office to apply for your ID card in order to:

  • Fill out Application (Form DL-44) for Driver Licenses/Identification Cards. Your signature is required, so this form cannot be found on the Internet.
  • Deliver a thumbprint.
  • Have a picture taken at the field office.

For those who want to have their application form completed before they go to the DMV or one of many federal facilities, you may call the DMV at (800) 777-0133 to get the form in the mail. You should also bring:

  • Your social security number or social security card. If you do not have a social security number, but you have a valid legal presence in the U.S., you are still eligible to apply for a California Real ID card.
  • Papers that prove your birth date and/or legal presence. This may include:
  • An original/certified copy of papers that prove your name in the case of a change of name. This could include:
    • A marriage certificate.
    • Adoption documents.
    • Name change papers that show your old and new name.

To see a comprehensive list of accepted documents, please refer to the CA DMV's website.

CA Identification Card Fees

The cost of $28 will be applied to:

  • An original CA ID or driver’s license.
  • California Real ID card renewal.
  • A replacement California Real ID card or driver’s license. (needed for lost/stolen cards or name changes)

The ID card will be valid for six years.

There will be no cost in the following cases:

  • You are a senior citizen 62 years or older. Your ID card would be valid for 10 years.
  • Address changes.
  • Exchanging a driver license for a California Real ID card for those who are unable to drive due to a health condition. Check with your local motor vehicles DMV field office for further details.

Reduced Fees for California Real ID Card

Those who meet the income requirements of a government/public assistance system may be able to get an ID card at the reduced price of $8. Driver licenses have never been so inexpensive!

For this, you must get form DL 937 from the government/organization providing assistance. You must then bring the filled-out form to the DMV when applying for your California Real ID card.

Renewing a California Real ID Card or Driver’s License

A CA identification card is valid for:

  • Six years if it is a regular ID card.
  • 10 years if it is a senior citizen ID card.

Similar to California license renewals, you are able to renew your California Real ID card online, through the mail, or by visiting the DMV in person.

Online Renewal

Renewing your California Real ID or online at the DMV website requires that you have:

  • A renewal notice in the mail from the DMV.
  • A verified Social Security number with the motor vehicles DMV.
  • A credit/debit card or bank account to pay the fee.
  • Your same name and address; no change of personal details can be done online.

Please refer to the CA DMV's website for online ID card renewal.

Mail Renewals

You are allowed to get your driver license or id card renewed through the mail if:

  • Your CA identification card has not expired more than one year ago.
  • There is no change to your name on your ID.
  • Your last renewal was done in person.

Renewing your CA ID or driver licenses by mail requires that you fill out this form (Form DL 410 FO) along with a check/money order to "DMV" and send it to the California DMV field office stated on the form.

California Real ID Card Replacements

If your CA identification card has been lost or stolen, applying for a replacement requires you visit a DMV field office in California. There is no other option than in person, you cannot do it on the DMV website.

You will have the following requirements:

  • Must have filled-out DL 44 form.
  • Provide a thumbprint.
  • Have a photo taken.
  • Pay the fee of $28. (If you're 62 years old or younger)
  • Birth date and legal presence documents are not required.

Change of California ID Card Information

Changing Your Name

Before being allowed to change a legal name on a CA identification card, you must change your name with the SSA. If their records do not line up with your new name put in with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the California DMV will mail you a Request for Verification of Information letter.

Changing your name requires you visit a DMV field office in person to:

  • Complete form DL 44.
  • Give your thumbprint.
  • Have a picture taken.
  • Pay the fee of $28. (for those under 62 years of age)

Proof of new name must also be presented to the California Department of Motor Vehicles by showing the following:

  • Date of birth or papers proving your stay in the U.S. is legal. This could be a U.S. birth certificate, citizenship certificate, or passport.
  • Verified full name papers. This could be adoption documents, a name change paper indicating both your old and new name, or a marriage certificate.

The CA Department of Motor Vehicles has a full list of accepted documents for the purposes of date of birth, legal presence, and proof of full name.

Address Changes

For a change of address on your driver’s license, you must tell the California Department of Motor Vehicles in 10 days or less after your address change. This can be done online on the DMV website, through the mail, and in person when visiting a California DMV office location.


For address changes online, you have to:

  • Possess a valid CA ID card or military id.
  • Possess a social security number.
  • Not have Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office addresses.
  • Have an address in the U.S.

Check out the California DMV website for online address changes to see all of the instructions.


Changing the address on California identification cards or your driver’s license through the mail requires you fill out this form and mail it to the address on the form. It's also possible to get the form in the mail by calling the DMV.

After sending in the form, bring a sheet of paper with your new address and California License Plate on it. Always carry it with your driver license or identification.

In Person

Changing your address in person requires you fill out this form (Form DMV 14) and bring it to a DMV personally. You will then get form DL 43 to fill out and always have next to your license or identification card.