REAL ID Information & Resources
New Federal ID Requirements Begin May 3, 2023
Passengers must present a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card to pass through airport security checkpoints beginning May 3, 2023. Travelers can also use a passport or other TSA approved documents to board domestic flights and enter secure federal facilities.
See below for additional information and resources.
California Compliance with Federal REAL ID Act Requirements
Under the REAL ID Act, the California DMV must meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its driver licenses and identification cards to be accepted for federal purposes.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Visit the DMV Online
Most DMV tasks can now be completed without visiting a field office! The DMV’s new and improved website offers a wide range of services, including vehicle registration renewals, driver’s license renewals, replacement sticker and registration card requests, and notice of transfer and release of liability. You can also complete your REAL ID application on the website before visiting a field office to save time spent in-person.
Many online services are self-serve, meaning you can complete them on your own from start to finish, while other services are “assisted,” meaning they are completed with the help of a DMV representative – but without a visit to an office. Customers can use the service advisor and chat function on the DMV website to learn their options for completing their DMV business.
Prefer not to complete transactions online? Visit a DMV Now kiosk, conveniently located throughout the state, or visit a DMV business partner where you can complete some selected transactions for a fee. You can find a complete list of kiosk locations and certified business partners on the DMV website.
Also, seniors 70 and older, previously required to visit a filed office to renew their driver’s license, can now renew online! The requirement has been waived until further notice so that seniors can complete transactions from the safety of their home.
As Californians continue to deal with the challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the California DMV remains committed to the health and safety of its customers and employees across the state. Visit DMV.CA.GOV to learn more about taking care of your DMV tasks without visiting an office.
How the REAL ID Act Impacts Californians
Beginning May 3, 2023, the federal government will require your driver license or ID card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board a domestic flight or to enter military bases and most federal facilities. The California DMV will offer a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card to customers beginning January 22, 2018.
Do I Need a REAL ID?
If you have a valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card, military ID, or other form of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved identification, you may use it as your form of identification to pass TSA airport checkpoints nationwide and to visit a secure federal building or military base. Check the TSA website at tsa.gov for a complete list of approved identification.
To find out whether or not you should obtain a REAL ID, click here
If you know you will not be boarding a domestic flight or visiting a secure federal facility or military base, you do not need a REAL ID driver license or ID card.
You DO NOT need a REAL ID to:
- Apply for or receive federal benefits (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
- Enter a federal facility that does not require ID (i.e., a post office)
- Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services
Those under 18 are not required to have a REAL ID to fly.
Who is Eligible for a REAL ID?
U.S. citizens and all legal residents of the United States can apply for a REAL ID driver license or ID card.
How to Prepare for REAL ID
To apply for a REAL ID card:
- Make an appointment to visit a DMV field office
- Proof of identity (examples: U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94)
- Proof of Social Security Number (examples: SSN card, W-2, paystub with full SSN)
- California residency document (examples: utility bill, rental agreement, mortgage bill, medical document)
- A name change document, such as a marriage license, may be required
Original documents or certified copies are required. For more information, visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov.
A REAL ID driver license and ID card will have a special marking in the top right corner of the card. The marking is the California grizzly bear with a star.
Information obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles REAL ID Fact Sheet.