In November 2015, the State of California started offering Veterans the option of getting the word “Veteran” imprinted on their CA driver’s license (DL) or ID card. Below are facts and the process of getting the designation put on to your DL/ID. By the way, you’ll need to start carrying a REAL ID driver license starting in October 2021; it’s suggested you apply for the “Veteran” designation BEFORE applying for a new REAL ID card.
|What is the “Veteran” designation?||The “Veteran” designation is essentially verified proof of your Veteran status that appears on the CA DL/ID. On the REAL ID card, the word “Veteran” appears between two stripes (red and blue).|
|Why is it something to consider?||There are a few reasons why a “Veteran” designation is beneficial. First, it would inform medical workers and law enforcement of your Veteran status so appropriate treatment could be given if you have health issues related to the military like PTSD, TBI, MST, etc. Second, you would have ready proof of your military service should you need to provide it for accessing benefits. Third, think about it, when you go out for Veterans Day to take advantage of meals and deals, some places require you to show your VA ID or DD Form 214 or even a photo of you in your uniform. Say you forgot your VA ID and don’t carry your 214 around with you, the “Veteran” designation on your driver license would suffice.|
|When would it be useful?||As stated above, when/if you are in a situation requiring medical care or with law enforcement, for going to appointments for benefits, and for accessing meals and deals.|
|Where do I go to get it?||The designation itself is obtained from the CA DMV; the process of letting the DMV know you’d like the designation is a whole other deal. See below.|
|How do I go about getting it on my new license/ID?||You’ll need to get the Member 4 copy your DD Form 214 and head to the nearest County Veteran Service Office (CVSO). The steps will be outlined below.|
If you’ve reviewed the information above and feel that the “Veteran” designation is right for you, here are the steps you need to take to make that happen.
- Get Your DD Form 214 & Find the Member 4 Copy. If you have your 214 handy, look for the Member 4 copy by looking in the lower right of the page. If you have the Member 4 copy, you should be good to go. If you need your 214 and don’t have it available, you can request it here.
- Contact Your Nearest County Veterans Service Office (CVSO). Due to the pandemic, it would be a good idea to call ahead to see if you need to make an appointment or if you can walk in. You can call 1-844-737-8838 or check out web listings for CVSOs. You can also track down an email address for the county VSO and fire off a message.
- Take Your 214 to the CVSO. When you get visit the CVSO, you’ll be given a VSD-001, Veteran Status Verification Form, to fill out. Now, you can find one here to fill out in advance or fill one out when you get to the CVSO. The office will review the form and sign off on your Veteran status.
- Complete a Driver’s License Application. You can start your application online or fill one out when you visit the DMV.
- Make a DMV Appointment. You can call 1-800-777-0133 or make an appointment online.
- Take Your Verified VSD-001 & DL Application to the DMV. If you filled out your application online, you can take the confirmation and the VSD-001 to the DMV. If not, you will be asked to fill one out at the DMV office.
- Pay the One-Time $5 Designation Fee & Other Application Fees. Yes, there will be fees. Aside from the $5, there will the usual DMV fees associated with DL/ID renewal, change, or replacement. See here for those licensing fees.