Veteran designation gets an update on new California Driver Licenses

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently announced changes to state driver licenses in adherence with federal mandates.

Starting Jan. 22, the DMV will roll out a new REAL ID compliant driver license, which not only sports a new look, but also can be used by travelers at airport security. Your current California driver license can be used at airport security through October 1, 2020, but after that, passengers will need to use a REAL ID compliant card or two forms of identification to pass through security.

Features of the new REAL ID license include:



For veterans, there’s a slight difference to the service designation on the new cards.

Two new stripes – red and blue – outline the veteran designation and the text is bigger than previous cards.

The new REAL ID driver license cards will still double as a veteran ID card, and when adding that designation you may discover some unknown benefits due to you in the process.

Beyond a free meal offered on Veterans Day, a visit to your local County Veteran Service Office (CVSO) could lead to assistance with preparing claims for disability, pension, compensation, education benefits, medical care and death benefits, such as burial allowances.

So before you head out to get a new REAL ID card, apply for the designation and start earning benefits today.

To apply, follow these steps:

In the two years since Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed legislation authorizing a veteran designation on California driver licenses and identification cards, more than 64,000 veterans have applied and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued more than 55,000.

Learn more about the READ ID cards at