California Id Cards For Minors: Everything You Need To Know

In California, state ID cards can be an important form of identification for minors under 18 who do not have a driver’s license. However, there are certain requirements and procedures for obtaining a California state ID as a minor.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Minors in California are eligible for state ID cards, and must apply in person along with a parent/guardian providing required documents.

California ID Card Eligibility for Minors

Minimum Age Requirements

To obtain an ID card in California, minors must meet certain age requirements. The minimum age to apply for a California ID card is any age. Unlike a driver’s license, which has a minimum age requirement of 16, minors of any age can apply for an ID card.

This is especially useful for younger individuals who need a form of identification for various purposes, such as traveling or opening a bank account.

Citizenship or Legal Presence Required

Just like adults, minors are also required to prove their citizenship or legal presence in order to obtain a California ID card. This is an important step to ensure the authenticity and validity of the ID card.

Minors must provide the necessary documents, such as a birth certificate or passport, to establish their citizenship or legal presence in the United States. This requirement helps to prevent identity theft and fraudulent use of ID cards.

It is important to note that minors who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents may still be eligible for a California ID card if they can provide proof of their legal presence in the country. This includes individuals with certain visa statuses, such as refugees or asylees.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides a comprehensive list of acceptable documents for establishing legal presence, which can be found on their official website:

By ensuring that minors meet the necessary age and citizenship or legal presence requirements, California aims to provide them with a reliable form of identification that can be used in various situations.

Whether it’s for traveling, accessing certain services, or simply proving their identity, having an ID card can be beneficial for minors in many ways.

Applying for a California State ID Card as a Minor

Required Documents

To apply for a California ID card as a minor under 18, you’ll need to provide several documents to prove your identity, age, and residency. Here are the key documents required:

  • Certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Social security card
  • Proof of residency, like a utility bill or bank statement with your current address
  • Parent/guardian consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian

You’ll also need to provide your thumbprint and have your photo taken at the DMV. Make sure to bring original versions of all required documents!

Application Process

The process to apply for a California ID card under 18 is simple but does require an in-person visit to your local DMV office. Here are the steps:

  1. Make an appointment at your nearest DMV office
  2. Complete the DL 44 ID Card Application form
  3. Have your parent/guardian sign the Parental Consent form
  4. Bring the required documents to your appointment
  5. Provide your thumbprint
  6. Get your photo taken
  7. Pay the application fee
  8. Wait to receive your new ID card by mail in 1-2 weeks

The whole process usually takes less than an hour if you come prepared with all necessary paperwork!

Application Fees

There is a $30 fee to apply for a California ID card if you are under 18 years old. This fee must be paid when you submit your application at the DMV. Accepted payment methods include:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Credit/debit card
  • Money order

Some applicants may qualify for a reduced fee of $8 if they meet certain income requirements. Check with your local DMV for details.

Using a California State ID as a Minor

Obtaining a California State ID card as a minor can be a valuable asset, providing proof of identity and opening up certain opportunities. Here are some important points to know about using a California ID as a minor:

As Proof of Identity

A California State ID card serves as an official form of identification for minors who do not have a driver’s license. It can be used to verify their identity in various situations, such as opening a bank account, applying for a job, or accessing certain services.

The ID card typically includes the minor’s name, date of birth, photograph, and a unique identification number.

It’s important for minors to keep their ID card in a safe place and carry it with them whenever necessary. Having a reliable form of identification can help minors navigate important situations with ease and confidence.

Purchasing Age-Restricted Items

While minors may not be able to purchase certain age-restricted items, such as tobacco or alcohol, a California State ID card can still be useful when it comes to verifying their age in non-age-restricted situations.

For example, a minor may need to prove their age when buying a rated-R movie ticket or purchasing a product that has an age restriction, such as an energy drink.

Having a California State ID card can save minors from the hassle of carrying around their birth certificate or relying on other forms of identification that may not be widely accepted.

Driving and Other Restrictions

It’s important to note that a California State ID card does not grant minors the ability to drive legally. To obtain a driver’s license, minors must meet certain age and eligibility requirements and pass the necessary tests.

Additionally, while a California State ID card can be used in various situations, there may still be certain restrictions for minors. For example, some establishments or organizations may have their own policies regarding the acceptance of ID cards from minors.

It’s always a good idea for minors to familiarize themselves with any specific requirements or restrictions that may apply.

For more information on obtaining a California State ID card as a minor, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Motor Vehicles at They provide detailed information on the application process, required documents, and any additional requirements or restrictions that may be relevant.


Getting a California state ID card can be important for minors who need valid ID for flying domestically, entering government buildings, applying for jobs, and more. The application process involves providing documents that prove identity and legal presence.

With a state ID card, minors in California can access many privileges and services that require valid identification.

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