REAL ID Information & Resources
New Federal ID Requirements Begin October 1, 2021


Passengers must present a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card to pass through airport security checkpoints beginning October 1, 2021. 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.

How the REAL ID Act Impacts Californians

Beginning October 1, 2021, 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 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:

  • Drive
  • 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

What Does a REAL ID Look Like?

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.

View California DMV's REAL ID Fact Sheet

View letter from CA DMV Director Jean Shiomoto sharing information about DMV’s plans for REAL ID implementation


Click the infographic below to watch a video about the “REAL Facts About REAL ID”

REAL ID Information & Resources