REAL ID Info: Non-U.S. Citizens - California DMV (2023)

Who can get a REAL ID?

Any Californian who can prove their current legal presence in the United States (U.S.) with one of the accepted identity documents (original or certified copy) is eligible to receive a REAL ID driver license or identification (DL/ID) card. This includes all U.S. citizens, permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens (Green Card holders), and those with temporary legal status, such as recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and holders of a valid student or employment visa. For Californians with temporary legal status, their REAL ID DL/ID card will expire on the same date as their U.S. legal presence document, and they can receive a new card with a documented extension of their legal status.

The required documents to apply for a REAL ID are listed below, as well as onDMV’s REAL ID checklist.

One Proof of Identity (original or certified copy only)

If you are alawfully present non-U.S. citizen, acceptable documents include:

  • Unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. Visa and approved I-94 form
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card
  • Valid/expired Permanent Resident Card with Notice of Action (I-797 C) or Approval Notice (I-797)
  • Valid, unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card (I-766) or valid/expired EAD Card with Notice of Action (I-797 C)
  • Unexpired foreign passport stamped “Processed for I-551”
  • Documents reflecting TPS benefit eligibility.

If the name of your identity document is different from your current name, you must bring a document with the new name.Check the REAL ID Document Checklistfor a full list of acceptable certified legal documents supporting a name change.

Two Proofs of California Residency

To prove that you live in California, you must presenttwodocuments that contain your California physical address.Bothdocuments must show your first and last names and the same address that is listed on the driver license or identification card application.

If you use a PO Box, one documentmusthave both the PO Box and physical (residence) address and one document mayonlycontain the PO Box.

If your name does not appear on any residency documents, you may present a birth certificate, marriage certificate, domestic partner registration certificate, an adoption document or any court document to connect your relationship to a person whose namedoesappear on the residency documentation. For example, a minor may use a residency document showing their parent or legal guardian’s name, but they must also present a birth certificate proving their relation to the person listed on the residency documents. The name on the residency documents must match the name on the identity document used to show relation.

If the residency document reflects a name that differs from the identity document due to a name change (for example, marriage, divorce, or court order), additional name change documentation will be required as evidence of the name change. For example, a child may use residency documents with the mother’s name differing from the birth certificate by also presenting a marriage certificate and/or dissolution of marriage document showing the mother’s different last name, which is on the residency documents.

The following documents can be used as proof of your California residency:

  • Rental or lease agreement with the signature of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident
  • Deed or title to residential real property
  • Mortgage bill
  • Home utility bill (including cellular phone)
  • School documents issued by a public or private primary, secondary, or post-secondary institution, college, or university that includes the applicant’s date of birth (If using a foreign school document, it must be sealed by the school and include a photograph of the applicant at the age the record was issued.)
  • Medical documents
  • Employment documents
  • Insurance documents, including medical, dental, vision, life, home, rental or vehicle
  • Tax return (either Internal Revenue Service [IRS] or California Franchise Tax Board [FTB])
  • Change of Address confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service
  • Property tax bill or statement
  • Faith-based document that includes the name and address of the organization
  • Records from any state or national bank, state or federal savings association, trust company, industrial loan company, state or federal credit union, or any institution or entity that has issued a credit card
  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard issued by the California Secretary of State or a local California county elections officer
  • Proof of payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher education in California
  • An original copy of an approved Claim for Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption (BOE-266) form filed with a local California County Assessor
  • Court documents that list the applicant as a resident of California
  • Letter from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, non-profit entity, faith-based organization, employer, or government agency within the U.S. attesting that the applicant resides in California
  • A document issued by a U.S. government agency, meaning the entity, office, or authority governing over a country, state, county, city, municipality, district, agency, department, or any other political subdivision of a country or state
  • California Certificate of Title or registration (vehicle or vessel)
  • A DMV No Fee Identification Card Eligibility Verification (DL 933) form, completed and signed

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have been authorized to apply for a DL/ID since June 15, 2012, upon presentation of documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DACA approvals by DHS are good for two (2) years. The expiration date of the DL/ID issued will align with the term of the customer’s legal presence document. The DMV website provides alist of acceptable legal presence documents for either a Federal Noncompliant or REAL ID Compliant DL/ID card.

At the point of renewal of a limited term DL/ID card, DMV sends a renewal notice to the applicant’s address on file requesting an updated DHS extension information/document. It is important to note that a REAL ID applicantcannotmail in any documents to renew their license. They must visit a field office and present their documents.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding DACA

Yes, DACA recipients are eligible to receive a REAL ID DL/ID card if their legal presence documents are current. The REAL ID DL/ID card will expire on the same date as their U.S. legal presence document. When it is time to renew, DMV will send a renewal notice to the address on file requesting an updated DHS extension information/document. The applicant should visit a field office and present their documents if they want to retain their REAL ID.

  • DL/ID cards will remain valid until the date of expiration printed on the card.
  • If a DACA recipient no longer maintains DACA status or other form of legal presence and wishes to convert their DL card to an AB 60 DL card, the applicant:
    • Will need to visit a local DMV field office.
    • Is urged to make an appointment by calling DMV at 1-800-777-0133 or going online
    • Must cancel any existing DL/ID card by completing the Request for Cancellation or Surrender of Driver License or Identification Card (DL 142) form.
    • If applicable, pay an application fee.
    • Doesnotneed to complete a knowledge or vision test, unless indicated on the DL record.
    • Doesnotneed to complete a drive test, unless indicated on the DL record.

California law does not allow for an ID card to be issued to individuals who are not legally present in the United States. If a DACA recipient with an ID card, loses their DACA status and has no other form of legal status, they will not be able to renew or convert their ID card.

Temporary Protected Status(TPS)

A TPS beneficiary can obtain a REAL ID compliant DL/ID card. The Department of Homeland Security may designate TPS for a foreign country due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain designated countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the U.S. Eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

The validity period of the DL/ID generally depends upon the length of the TPS period. The DL/ID expiration date is based on information verified by the federal government in compliance with federal law. Depending on the verified response from the federal government, the DL/ID card will be valid for the period of time of the applicant’s authorized stay in the United States or, if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay, a period of one year from the date of the DL/ID application.


FFDL 5 Requirements for a California Driver License

FFDL 6 Requirements for a California Identification Card

FFDL 32 Limited Term for Legal Presence

Driver License and Identification Card Residency Requirement

AB 60 Driver License

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated: 15/11/2023

Views: 6688

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.