New California License Coming to a Wallet, Purse Near You

Current license holders not required to get new IDs until expiration date printed on their current cards

Jessica Hernandez-7616
John Hancock

Californians got their first look Wednesday at the state's newly designed driver licenses and ID cards.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the makeover is all about security.

"The new security features, coupled with advanced technology, make California driver licenses and identification cards one of the most secure identification documents in the country," said DMV Director George Valverde.

"We are confident that they will be well-received by residents, businesses and law enforcement officials," Valverde said.

So what's the difference? According to a statement from the DMV:

  • A vertical layout for persons under 21
  • The cardholder's date of birth and signatures that can be felt by touch
  • Images that can be seen only with the use of ultraviolet lights
  • A bar code on the back of the card that replicates and verifies only the information on the front of the card (similar to the current magnetic stripe)
  • A laser perforation outline of the California Brown Bear, which can be seen from the front of the card when a flashlight is pressed against the back of the card

Current license holders will not need to take any action until their current IDs expire.

"It is very important to understand that cardholders are not required to get new cards until the expiration date printed on their current cards." said Valverde. "Remember, when it is time to renew your card, DMV has many services that are offered online to help customers avoid going into the field offices."

The new cards went into effect earlier this week. This is the first major revision of California driver licenses and ID cards since 2001, according to the DMV.

More than 8.25 million driver licenses and ID cards are issued each year in California.

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