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Driver License and ID Card Rules


Person filling out an application formIf you are a new applicant for driving privileges or an identification card in Oregon, or if you have not renewed since before 2008, you will need to show DMV proof of your identity and lawful presence in the United States.  Even if you have had your driver license or ID card for years or even decades, you must bring documents that meet the state requirements which took effect in 2008.
Applicants for Oregon Driver Licenses, Instruction Permits and ID Cards are required to show DMV acceptable documents that provide:
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the country – such as a government-issued birth certificate or U.S. passport, or foreign passport with U.S. immigration documents.  DMV will electronically verify U.S. immigration, naturalization and other U.S.-issued documents that non-citizens and naturalized citizens use to prove lawful presence in the country.
  • A Social Security number or proof that you are not entitled to a Social Security number, if you do not have one and are not eligible for one – such as immigration documents that do not include permission to work in the United States. DMV will verify your Social Security number electronically with the Social Security Administration.
  • Proof of full legal name – such as birth certificate, or a combination of documents that create a link proving current full legal name, such as a birth certificate and government-issued marriage certificate.

Note: All documents must be the original or certified copy from the issuing agency. All birth certificates must be issued by a federal, state or local government agency of the United States and are not acceptable if laminated.  An unexpired foreign passport is required with certain U.S.-immigration documents. For a complete list of acceptable proof of legal presence, please visit our Proof of Identity page.

Don't Wait Until Your Card Expires!
It can take weeks to obtain some of the documents you'll need to meet the 2008 laws, so don't wait until your license or ID card expires, or is even lost or stolen. Be prepared! Make sure that you have your vital identification, citizenship, name-change or immigration documents available before you need them.


Oregon enacted stricter requirements on the issuance of driver licenses and identification cards in 2008 via state laws that took effect July 1, 2008. These requirements are in addition to the existing ones, including proof of resident address, payment of fees and the passage of tests.

Note: Drivers younger than 18 must meet additional state requirements. 
A summary of the most recent state changes in driver license and ID card issuance requirements are summarized below:

  • 2007: Oregon DMV switched to centralized issuance of driver licenses and ID cards instead of over-the-counter issuance. Applicants are issued an interim card at the DMV office and then receive the secure, plastic card in the mail typically within a few days. This change was the first step in enabling the use of overnight "facial recognition" software checks of all applicants' photos against photos on DMV file. The facial recognition requirement came from state law enacted in 2005.
  • February 2008: Oregon began electronic verification of Social Security numbers under a Governor's Executive Order.
  • July 2008: As of July 1, Senate Bill 1080 from the 2008 Oregon Legislature placed Social Security number verification in law, and added further requirements for Oregon driving privileges and ID cards. These new requirements included proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the country, document proof of Social Security number and proof of full legal name. Also, DMV began the final steps in installing "facial recognition" equipment and software under other state legislation.
  • September 2008: DMV requested an administrative rule change to expand the definition of "full legal name" after some customers experienced problems meeting this requirement because of name changes in their lifetimes.
  • January 2009: Under the 2008 Senate Bill 1080, DMV began electronic verification of U.S.-issued immigration, travel and naturalization documents for driver license and ID card applicants who provide these as proof of lawful presence in the country.
  • April 2009: DMV will return applicants' old driver licenses and ID cards with an invalidating hole punched in them along with the interim card. This provides applicants with stronger proof of identity for their banking, travel and other business requiring proof of ID.
  • January 2010: Also Under SB 1080, DMV began to issue limited-term driver licenses and ID cards to applicants who have temporary stays in the United States.
  • January 2012: House Bill 2139 from the 2011 Oregon Legislature removed the requirement that DMV view proof of an applicant's Social Security Number prior to issuing, renewing or replacing a driver license, instruction permit or identification card. Applicants will continue to provide their Social Security Number on the driver license, commercial driver license and identification card applications. DMV will verify the number provided on the application with the Social Security Administration.
Facial Recognition Software
Since July 1, 2008, Oregon DMV has been using facial recognition software in the prevention of fraud and identity theft. The enabling law, created by the 2005 Oregon Legislature, is designed to prevent someone from obtaining a driver license or ID card under a false name or under multiple names.

In order to integrate facial recognition into the process, DMV changed from over-the-counter issuance of cards to a centralized issuance solution. Customers who qualify for driving privileges or ID cards get an interim card at their DMV office and then receive their final card in the mail within five to 10 business days. 
For DMV Customers: 
       -  FAQs about centralized issuance and interim cards 
       -  FAQs about facial recognition at DMV

For businesses and agencies that request ID from customers:
       -  FAQs for businesses and agencies that use Oregon ID
       -  Sample driver license images

Federal Real ID Act
The Real ID Act is federal legislation, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005, that creates nationwide standards for the issuance of driver licenses and ID cards. 

Related Information
Additional information that may be relevant includes: