Ask the DMV – Don’t count on being lucky, get your REAL ID ahead of time.
If you haven’t already upgraded your driver’s license to a REAL ID don’t count on being lucky, save yourself the stress and get your REAL ID ahead of the enforcement date!
Q1: How is a REAL ID different from my driver’s license?
A1: Good question! Your driver’s license is issued by the DMV; it gives you the ability to operate a motor vehicle and acts as a form of identification. A REAL ID is a federally accepted form of identification that can be used to board domestic flights nationwide and enter secure federal facilities, such as military bases, federal courthouses, and other secure federal locations. If you already have your driver’s license, make sure to upgrade to a REAL ID before the May 2025 enforcement date.
Q2: I’m ready to upgrade my driver’s license to a REAL ID, can I apply online?
A2: You can start the application process online to expedite your DMV office visit at dmv.ca.gov/realid
Getting your REAL ID is as easy as 1,2,3!
- Begin by gathering your documents, one (1) original or certified proof of identity, and two (2) different printed proofs of California residency are required. Check out the DMV’s interactive document checklist to see what qualifies.
- Complete the online application and upload your documents.
- Make an appointment online to visit your local DMV office and complete your application. Be sure to bring printed copies of any documents uploaded online and bring your confirmation code to your DMV appointment.
Q3: What happens if I don’t obtain my REAL ID by the May 2025 enforcement date?
A3: Starting May 7, 2025, if you don’t have a REAL ID you will not be able to board domestic flights using your driver’s license or identification card within the U.S. or enter secure facilities, such as military bases, and federal courthouses. Make your REAL ID your lucky charm and upgrade your license before the rush.
For more information about the DMV’s online services, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/online
Note: DMV offices are closed on weekends.
Please click here for a PDF of information on getting your REAL ID with the DMV