The DMV of California has announced that nearly 13 million Californians have a REAL ID as of April 1st. We are almost a year away from the federal REAL ID enforcement date set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Starting May 3, 2023, a federally approved document, such as a REAL ID, will be required to board flights within the United States and access secure federal buildings. 

On, DMV Director Steve Gordon had this to say in regards to securing a REAL ID:  

“The DMV has made getting a REAL ID easier and faster,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “Customers can fill out the online application, upload their documents, get verification and make an appointment when and where they want. Taking these steps significantly reduces the amount of time spent at the DMV and lets us serve more customers each day.” 

If you aren’t sure what a REAL ID is or the benefits of one, here is some information on them.

What is a REAL ID?

A REAL ID takes the place of a regular driver’s license or ID card and acts like a valid passport. It is a federally accepted form of identification and meets the requirements for a variety of activities. 

A REAL ID can be used to board flights within the United States and enter secure federal facilities, including federal military bases, federal courthouses, and federal US Post Offices. On May 3rd, 2023, the federal REAL ID Act begins, which gives the REAL ID its passport and federal capabilities.  

A golden bear with a star on it in the top right corner showcases that the license is a REAL ID. 

How to get a REAL ID?

To get your free REAL ID upgrade you must follow these simple steps! 

  1. Gather the necessary documents using the REAL ID checklist (Social Security #, one form of ID, two proofs of California residency)
  2. Complete the online application and upload your documents
  3. Upload documents, have the confirmation code handy, and make an appointment at the nearest DMV office to complete the REAL ID upgrade process.

To find out more information on REAL IDs and upgrading to one visit For all other DMV-related news and updates please visit our website


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