by Photo by Anton Porsche via Unsplash

The Department of Motor Vehicles reported 13.3 million Californians to have a REAL ID as of June 1, which is less than one year from the federal enforcement date on May 3. 2023. 

Beginning Next May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or another federally approved document to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases. Since the beginning of the year, one million Californians have received their Real ID. 

“There really is no need to wait. It’s easy to start the application online,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “As May of next year gets closer, those who procrastinate might have to wait in line to be helped at the DMV. Today, you can get an appointment within a day or two at most offices.”

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The federal enforcement will apply to every air traveler 18 years of age or older beginning May 3, 2023. 

According to the DMV, REAL ID-compliant cards are marked with a star at the top of the card. If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card.

Those who have not applied for a REAL ID can do so by visiting Residents can fill out the online application and upload their documents. 

Customers must visit a DMV office and bring their uploaded documents to complete the application. 

According to the DMV, customers must provide: 

  • Proof of identity, which includes one original or certified document (example: valid passport, birth certificate) *Legal name change document(s) if the name on the 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.


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