REAL ID Act
Before you renew your driver license or identification card, or apply for one, you must choose between a federal compliant REAL ID card and a federal non-compliant one. Use our REAL ID infographic (PDF) to help you decide which one is right for you.
NOTE: Individuals applying for or renewing an AB 60 driver license are not eligible to receive a REAL ID driver license.
If you choose to get a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card, you must visit a DMV field office and present original or certified documents proving your identity, Social Security number and California residency (beginning April 2019 two different residency documents are required. Photocopies of residency documents are accepted). Additional original or certified documents must be presented if you have changed your legal name. Find out if you have the correct documents:
You have a choice:
You can choose either a federal compliant REAL ID driver license/identification (ID) card OR a federal non-compliant driver license/ID card.
DRIVER LICENSE / ID CARD:
- To apply, you must visit a DMV field office and present original or certified documents (no photocopies) proving your identity, Social Security number, and California residency (beginning April 2019 two different residency documents are required. Photocopies of residency documents are accepted). Additional original or certified documents are also needed if you have changed your legal name.
- You can use it to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility that requires identification, including after the new federal requirements begins on October 1, 2020.
- A Bear and Star identifies federal compliant REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards.
DRIVER LICENSE / ID CARD:
- You can renew online or by mail (if eligible), without visiting a DMV field office.
- You CANNOT use it to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities that require identification –such as military bases- STARTING October 1, 2020.
- This card has the phrase "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY" on the front of the card.
How Do I Get a REAL ID?
- Plan your DMV visit by making an appointment to visit a field office. (This is not a requirement but strongly recommended)
- Complete the electronic driver license and ID card application online before your office visit.
- See the list of documents to apply for a REAL ID and bring original or certified documents to your DMV visit that prove the following:
Identity, one document, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. visa and approved I-94 form.NOTE: Name change documents, such as a certified marriage certificate, if the name on your identity document (for example, a birth certificate) is different than your current legal name.
Social Security number, one document, such as Social Security Card (here’s how to order a replacement one) or W-2 form with full SSN.
NOTE: If you have changed your name, the name on your Social Security document must match your legal name change document.
California residency, beginning April 2019 two different documents, such as home utility bill that lists your name and physical address (a P.O. Box can be used as the mailing address to receive your REAL ID, but your residency document must display a P.O. Box and physical address).
NOTE: View the complete list of document options (PDF) to apply for a REAL ID card.
NOTE: Printed copies are accepted for residency documents, but electronic files are not allowed.
- Pay the application fee: $36 for Driver License or $31 for ID Card.
To help you gather the required documents proving your identity, Social Security number and California residency you will need to present to apply for a REAL ID, use this interactive checklist.
DMV Speakers Bureau
The DMV offers in-person presentations about the REAL ID driver license and identification card program for large groups. To request a presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
REAL ID Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions – Two (2) Proofs of Residency Required
- Frequently Asked Questions on REAL ID
- The California DMV will continue to release updated information regarding REAL ID. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- The US Department of Homeland Security has additional information on REAL ID.
- DMV’s REAL ID Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Driver License and Identification Card Options (PDF)