Nearly 7.6 Million Californians Have a REAL ID as Enforcement Date Approaches

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Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

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March 6, 2020

Almost half a million sign up last month, DMV urges people to not procrastinate – come in now

Sacramento – As the clock keeps ticking toward the federal enforcement date of October 1, nearly 7.6 million Californians have a REAL ID as of February 29, according to Department of Motor Vehicles data. This is a 448,525 increase over a month earlier when more than 7.1 million Californians had received a REAL ID.

“The DMV has made getting a REAL ID easier and faster. Wait times are down. More people than ever can be served in a DMV office on any given day. Still, not enough Californians are coming in. If this trend continues and people wait until September to take action, lines will be longer, wait times will increase and it will take longer to get a REAL ID in the mail,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said.

Starting October 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases.

The DMV began tracking the number of individuals who have REAL IDs as a more accurate reflection of the data. Since the DMV started offering the card on January 22, 2018, nearly 8.3 million REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards have been issued, including duplicates and renewals.

DMV offices statewide served more than 1.9 million customers in February, 430,000 more than a year earlier. This includes transactions of all types, including REAL ID. The average wait time in an office during February was 16 minutes for those with an appointment and 40 minutes without an appointment.

The DMV encourages Californians to complete the online application for a REAL ID before they come to the office and to be prepared with the appropriate documents to speed the process for everyone.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians must visit a DMV office and bring the following documents:

  • One proof of identity* – original or certified (examples: valid passport, birth certificate)
    *Legal name change document(s) if name on proof of identity is different from the name on the other documents (examples: marriage certificate, adoption papers)
  • One proof of Social Security number
  • Two proofs of California residency – paper copies (examples: utility bill, bank statement)

Visit for a complete list of acceptable documents and a link to the online application. For a list of all online services, visit here.


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