DMV Simplifies REAL ID Application Process

Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 | dmvpublicaffairs@dmv.ca.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2021

Document proving Social Security number no longer required after federal rule change

Sacramento –Californians applying for a REAL ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles now have one less document to provide during the application process. Following updated federal rules, the DMV no longer requires applicants to provide a Social Security card or W-2 to prove they have a Social Security number. Starting today, Californians can now simply provide their Social Security number.

By filling out the online application and uploading their documents, Californians can bring their confirmation code and documents to a DMV office at their convenience, even the same day, for express service – no appointment necessary. Once at a service window, it now takes less than 10 minutes to complete the REAL ID transaction.

“Getting a REAL ID in California just got a little easier,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “We continue to streamline the REAL ID process so that customers can upload required documents, avoid long lines and get a REAL ID well in advance of the federal enforcement date.”

To apply for a REAL ID, an applicant must provide a valid Social Security number, proof of identity and two proofs of California residency. A list of qualifying documents and other helpful information can be found at REALID.dmv.ca.gov.

Customers are required to wear face coverings and maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

Starting May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases.

The DMV is no longer requiring a document with a Social Security number after updating its system following passage of the REAL ID Modernization Act, which will allow for further process improvements in the future. The DMV continues to streamline its processes and incorporate technology to become more mobile and better serve its customers through more convenient service options.

Complete Other Transactions Online

Most DMV tasks do not require an office visit. The DMV continues to encourage customers to use its online services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. As a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all Californians can now renew their driver’s license online – even if the renewal notice states an office visit is required. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks. With more customers using online services, DMV offices have more space to accommodate Californians who need a REAL ID or otherwise have to visit an office.

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