REAL ID Act
If you fly within the United States or enter secure federal buildings and military bases, you will need to a valid passport or other federally approved document, such as a REAL ID driver license or identification card, beginning October 1, 2020.
Before you renew your driver license or identification card or apply for one, you must choose between a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card and a federal non-compliant one. Use our REAL ID infographic (PDF) to help 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 (one document), Social Security number (one document) and California residency — street address (two different documents). 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:
How to Apply for a REAL ID (video)
Watch the step-by-step REAL ID Application Guide video on how to apply for a REAL ID on DMV’s YouTube Channel.
You have a choice:
You can choose either a federal compliant REAL ID driver license/identification card OR a federal non-compliant driver license/identification 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 (one document), Social Security number (one document) , and California residency — street address (two different 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 a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card to fly within the United States or enter a secure federal facility that requires identification, when new federal ID requirements begin October 1, 2020. (Note: Check with the federal facility/military base before your visit to verify their identification requirements.)
- California REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards have a bear and star in the upper right corner.
DRIVER LICENSE / ID CARD:
- You can renew online or by mail (if eligible) without visiting a DMV field office.
- You CANNOT use a federal non-compliant driver license or identification card to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities that require identification, such as military bases, STARTING October 1, 2020. (Note: Check with the federal facility/military base before your visit to verify their identification requirements.)
- This card contains the phrase "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY".
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 complete 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) Ex: 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 if the name on your identity document (for example, a birth certificate) is different than your current legal name. Ex: certified marriage or domestic partnership document.
Social Security number (one document) Ex: Social Security Card (here’s how to order a replacement one) or W-2/paystub that shows the 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 — street address (two different documents), Ex: 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 both a P.O. Box and street 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.
IMPORTANT: All documents must show the same name, otherwise a name change document may be required.
- Pay the application fee: $36 for Driver License or $31 for Identification Card.
Use this interactive checklist to help you gather the required documents to prove your identity, Social Security number and California residency to apply for a REAL ID driver license or identification card.
DMV Speakers Bureau
The DMV offers in-person presentations about the REAL ID driver license and identification card program for large groups of 40 or more. To request a presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the name of your organization, possible dates/times and approximate number of attendees.
Important note: The DMV Speakers Bureau is unable to assist with personal DMV matters and transactions. For assistance, call 1-800-777-0133 or use DMV online services.
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)