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California License/ID Cards Updated

Earlier this fall, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began issuing newly designed California driver licenses and identification cards. The DMV issues over 8.25 million cards to Californians annually, and it is critical that these documents are authentic, secure, and accurate.

The look and feel of the new cards has been significantly changed from older versions, and the new designs incorporate several advanced safety features and enhancements that make these cards among the most secure in the nation. Some of the new features include:

  • A laser-engraved signature, with raised lettering that can be detected by touch, allows for the immediate identification of an authentic card.
  • In addition to the primary photo on the driver license, the card will also sport a smaller, lighter photo of the cardholder that can only be seen under UV light.
  • Names will now be listed on two lines. The last name will be displayed on the first line and the first and middle names will go on the second line.
  • Cards for persons under the age of 21 will now be oriented vertically as opposed to horizontally. Provisional licenses (for drivers under the age of 18) bear distinctive markings. These features allow for the quick and easy identification of individuals who are too young to buy alcohol or cigarettes, gamble, etc.
  • In addition to a magnetic stripe, a new 2D bar code will be placed on the back side of the cards. The same information is contained in both, but will allow for two methods of reading the data.
  • An outline of the California Brown Bear will be placed on the back of the card and can be seen through the front by holding a flashlight directly to the back of the card.

While new cards are already being issued, existing ID or driver license cardholders are not required to get a new card until the expiration date printed on their current cards. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its website (www.dmv.ca.gov), including driver license renewals. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at 800-777-0133.