Ask the DMV

Ask the DMV – REAL ID federal enforcement date is one year away. Apply online to get a REAL ID now!

The REAL ID federal enforcement date is just one year away. Starting May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved identification, like a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities like military bases. Start your online application today and get REAL ID ready in three simple steps:

  1. Gather your identification documents

  2. Complete your online application and upload your documents

  3. Visit the DMV office to complete your REAL ID application 

Visit dmv.ca.gov/realid for a complete list of acceptable documents and to begin your online application. 

Q1: What type of documents are required to apply for my REAL ID?

Original1 or certified proof of identity and two different printed proofs of California residency2 are required.

1 original or certified proof of identity*

  • Examples: valid passport, birth certificate, valid permanent resident card 

    • *If your name on your proof of identity is different from the name on your other documents you will need a legal name change document (Examples: marriage certificate, adoption papers)

2 different printed proofs of California residency 

  • Examples: utility bill, bank statement, insurance documents, tax return, rental or lease agreement, school documents 

Q2: Do I have to wait for my current license or ID to expire before I get a REAL ID?

No, you can apply for the REAL ID before your current driver's license or ID expires! Be aware that your new REAL ID will hold the same expiration date as your current driver's license or ID. Keep in mind that as the enforcement date gets closer, wait times are estimated to get longer. Don’t delay and apply today to beat the rush!

For more information, please visit dmv.ca.gov/realid

(1) comment

MilesBeyond

Got mine in 2020. My Mother could not because she's been remarried several times. The birth certificate name does not match her current name. The DMV didn't have a clue as to how to best resolve the mismatch. The only possible remedy is to apply for a new passport using an expired one as an acceptable verification. She just got the standard DL renewal as her birthday was fast approaching. Still procrastinating.

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