If you still need a REAL ID, you have a little less than a year before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require federally accepted identification, like a REAL ID or valid passport, to board a flight within the United States or visit secure federal facilities and military bases. A REAL ID may be your most important carry-on starting May 3, 2023.
Go to REALID.dmv.ca.gov to start your application and upload your documents before visiting a DMV office to complete the process. You will need to provide one proof of identity, two proofs of California residency, and your Social Security number. A bear and star on your driver’s license or identification card indicates you have a REAL ID.
“The California DMV has taken many steps to make getting a REAL ID as easy and convenient as possible,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “By going online to fill out the application and upload necessary documents, customers can get in and out of a field office in minutes. I encourage Californians to get their REAL ID now to beat the expected rush as the federal enforcement deadline draws closer.”
As of April 1, nearly 13 million Californians have upgraded to a REAL ID, which is easy to do when you renew.
You may not need a REAL ID to fly or enter secure federal buildings if you currently have a valid passport, military ID, Global Entry Card or other federally approved document. While a passport may allow you to fly within the U.S., a REAL ID does not replace a passport for international travel.
To get a REAL ID for the first time, you will need to visit a field office to finalize your application and take a new photo. Most field offices statewide have appointments within seven days and you may check office wait times online before going.
Recently, the DMV has taken many steps to offer more digital services. Most DMV tasks do not require an office visit. The DMV encourages customers to use its online services and other service channels to complete transactions, including vehicle registration renewals. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.
With more customers using online services, DMV offices have more space to accommodate Californians who need a REAL ID or otherwise have to visit an office.