California launches veteran designation program for driver’s licenses and ID cards

Beginning Thursday, veterans across California can apply to have the word “veteran” added to their driver’s licenses or ID cards as part of a new program announced Tuesday.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) said the program is part of honoring veterans.

“California’s new driver license and identification card program honors and recognizes the military service of our veterans,” CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani said. “I encourage our veterans to contact a County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) and start the process and learn about their earned benefits, just as I have.”

Imbasciani added the new designation means businesses can easily confirm veteran status when offering discounts as well.

To obtain the designation, veterans must pay a one-time $5 Veteran Designation Fee, along with any additional application and testing requirements or costs, and follow the process described below.

The DMV will begin accepting applications Thursday, Nov. 12.

* Get records. Find a military discharge certificate (DD214). If assistance is needed, then contact a CVSO for help.

* Visit any CVSO in any county. Take the DD214 form and government identification to a CVSO to obtain a Veteran Status Verification Form. In Madera, the County’s Veterans Service Office can be located at 200 W. 4th Street, Madera, CA, 93637, or by calling (559) 675-7766 to schedule an appointment. The Mariposa County Veterans Services Office can be called at (209) 966-3696. Other CVSO location can be found by visiting the CalVet website.

* Visit any DMV. After making an appointment by calling 1-800-777-0133 or visiting, bring in the verification form, and pay the $5 fee as well as additional costs or testing requirements.

Jessica Gonzalez, a public affairs worker with the DMV, said the $5 Veteran Designation Fee is used in processing costs with a vendor to get the word “VETERAN” printed on a license or ID card.

The program is a product of Assembly Bill 935, authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley).

Details: How to add the veteran designation to your DL or ID card.

Staff report