The Real ID FAQs

Q: I heard there were several delays in implementation of the REAL ID Act from the original effective date of May 11, 2008. Is this correct?
A: Yes, the Department of Homeland Security originally granted all jurisdictions a three-year extension until May 11, 2011. Another extension was granted until January 15, 2013.

Q: Is my California driver license still accepted on airlines and in federal buildings?
A: Yes, the California driver license or identification card (DL/ID) you possess will be honored by Transportation Security Administration at airports and for entering federal buildings.

Q: Will the look of the California DL/ID card change if the REAL ID Act is implemented?
A: The California DL/ID card stays the same; however, a REAL ID star is added to the right corner of the card if California decides to implement the REAL ID Act. If you obtained a California DL/ID card since October of 2010, it has a whole new look. The new DL/ID Secure Card features advanced technology designed to keep identities secure. Enhancements include two lines for your name, a new background illustrating well known California landmarks, individuals under age 21 will now have a vertical format, and the back of the DL/ID card includes a 2D barcode.

Q: Should I come into a DMV Field Office much earlier than my license renewal date?
A: No, continue to conduct business with DMV as you normally would. If you are required to renew in person, do so in the usual manner. If you are eligible to renew online, take advantage of renewing over the Internet at or by mail because it saves you time!

Q: How will this affect my teen son or daughter applying for a first time DL?
A: The requirements for the provisional DL will not change. Your son or daughter would go through the same process as before (bringing in a valid birth certificate and social security card, etc.)

Q: Will getting a license cost me more money?
A: No, not at this point.

Q: I heard that the REAL ID card will contain an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip, is this true?
A: No. The REAL ID card would not include an RFID chip. The RFID chip is part of the Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) program. California does not issue an EDL.