DMV offers free REAL ID upgrade

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Motor Vehicles invites all eligible Californians who received driver’s licenses or identification cards  during  the pandemic but did not get a REAL  ID  to  upgrade  now  for  no  additional cost. This offer is set to  expire at the end  of the year.

An office visit is required to get a REAL ID. During the pandemic, the DMV temporarily expanded eligibility to renew online or by mail to include Californians age 70 and older, and customers who had reached their limit on out- of-office renewals – customers normally required to renew in person. The DMV expects to issue about 5.7 million driver’s licenses and IDs that are not REAL IDs between March 2020 and July 2021 to customers eligible for one. A fee is paid at the time of driver’s license application for a new license or renewal. That fee will be waived for the  customers  who received  a  non-REAL ID  during that time  if  they  upgrade  now  at

“We don’t want Californians to pay the price for not getting a REAL ID during the pandemic,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “While  the  federal  government has extended the enforcement  date  for  a  REAL  ID, there  is  no  need  to procrastinate.  If you  act now,  you can take advantage  of this  offer  and  upgrade  to  a REAL  ID for  free.”

Beginning May 3, 2023, 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  and military bases.

To apply for a REAL ID, an applicant must provide a valid Social Security number, proof of identity and two proofs  of California residency. A list of qualifying documents and other helpful information can be found at

The DMV is taking many steps to improve its services and make getting or upgrading to a REAL ID easier. By  filling out the REAL ID application at  and uploading their documents, Californians can make an appointment, bring their confirmation code and documents with them to a DMV office at their convenience, even the same day, for express service — no appointment necessary. Once at a service window, it now takes less than 10  minutes to  complete the REAL ID transaction.

The DMV encourages Californians to act now 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.

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