Applying for an ID card in California is easy if you know what to do. You don’t have to go through any trial and error or show up at the wrong place at the wrong time and find out the hard way how it’s done.

In fact, you should be able to take care of it easily in just one day. Now, here’s all you need to know to get your very own identification card in the state of California.

Know What Kind of California ID Card You Need

There are three different ID cards in California that you can apply for. Each one has its own special requirements.

Standard ID Card

This is the most basic ID card you can get in California, and is the one most people apply for. They are most commonly used for verifying age and identity.


A REAL ID Card is similar to a California standard ID card but it comes with a couple of extra features. These ID cards allow you access to federal locations such as military bases or federal courthouses. Like standard ID cards, they are valid for six years.

Senior Citizen ID Card

Californian citizens that are aged 62 years or older must apply for a senior citizen ID card rather than a standard one.

What makes senior citizen ID cards special is that they cost no fee and they are valid for eight years rather than six.

Applying for an ID Card in California

There are two primary ways you can apply for an ID card in California: in person at a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or using an official online application.

Applying for an ID Card at a DMV

When you go to the DMV to apply for an ID card, you will need to bring several necessary documents to begin the application process.

You will need to provide:

– Your social security number (SSN).

– A document that verifies your identity with your current name (a birth certificate, a military identification card, a temporary resident card, etc.)

Additionally, you will have your photo taken and will also undergo a thumbprint scan. After all of this is completed, you will be asked to pay the non-refundable fee.

Applying for an ID Card Online

If you wish to skip the long lines at the local DMV, you are allowed the option to apply for your California ID card online. The application process is fairly quick, though you will also need to have certain information on hand, such as your social security number, your current address and your date of birth.

You can only perform part of the application online, as once the online application is over it will then ask you to go in person to get your picture taken.

While your first ID card photo must be taken in person, you are more than welcome to replace that photo later on once your card arrives. If this is an option you wish to take, it is highly recommended to do so with the ID card photo maker AI-Photo.

To use the AI photo tool, simply visit the website: and upload a photo of yourself. Ensure that the photo is taken against a plain white background, and that your face is fully visible and centered in the frame. The tool will then guide you through the process of adjusting your photo to meet the size requirements for your ID card. Once you are satisfied with the results, you can download and print the photo to take with you when you go to get your ID card.

Keep in mind that the AI passport photo tool is not just limited to ID cards, it can also be used for passports, visas, and other official documents. With the tool, you can be sure that your photo will meet all the necessary requirements and will look professional and polished.

Paying the Fee for your California ID Card

Unless you meet special circumstances, you will have to pay the $26 fee for your state ID Card in California. This applies to getting your first ID card or applying for a replacement.

However, there are two ways to avoid the full fee that don’t involve being a 62-year-old senior citizen. One is a reduced fee and the other is another no-fee process.

To be eligible for a reduced fee for your ID card, you must meet specific income requirements for assistance programs. Your local DMV will have more information on this matter.

To get a no-fee ID card in California, you must officially qualify as a homeless person. The definition of this state as outlined by California can be read online or explained in person at your local DMV.


Getting your CA ID card is a straightforward process. Once you have determined what type of ID card you need, you can start the process, which shouldn’t be painful. Then, you’ll have your freshly pressed CA identification card in no time!

And if you need any ID or passport sized photos, get them online using AI-Photo!