Number of Californians with a REAL ID Grows as DHS Extends Enforcement Date

Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

December 5, 2022

New federal identification requirements now take effect
May 7, 2025

Sacramento – Nearly 14.8 million Californians now have a REAL ID – an increase of 198,814 from the previous month – according to Department of Motor Vehicles data. These updated figures come as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that it is extending the federal REAL ID enforcement date by two more years, with the requirements now taking effect on May 7, 2025.

“We encourage Californians not to procrastinate getting a REAL ID because you’ll still need one if you plan to use your driver’s license or identification card to fly within the U.S. when the new federal requirements take effect,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon.  “If a REAL ID is on your holiday wish list this year, we’ve made it easy for you to get one. All you have to do is fill out an online application, upload your documents and make a quick trip to the DMV.”

Beginning May 7, 2025, 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.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians should visit, fill out the online application and upload their documents. Customers must visit a DMV office and bring their uploaded documents to complete the application. Customers need to provide:

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

Visit for a complete list of acceptable documents and a link to the online application.

Historical REAL ID information:

  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of December 1, 2022: 14,757,289
  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of November 1, 2022: 14,558,475
  • Total REAL ID cardholders as December 1, 2021: 12,090,516

Online Services

The DMV has taken many steps to offer more digital services. Most DMV tasks do not require an office visit. The DMV encourages customers to use its online services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.

To sign up for paperless vehicle registration and driver’s license renewal notices, customers must sign in or create a secure online account at, and then opt in.


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