Sacramento - The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will offer federal compliant REAL ID driver licenses and identification (ID) cards beginning January 22. This optional card is being made available to Californians who want to continue to use their driver license or ID card to board a domestic flight or enter secure federal facilities when new federal requirements take effect October 1, 2020. Californians will have the choice to apply for a REAL ID driver license or ID card, or renew or apply for a federal non-compliant card.
There is no need to rush into a DMV field office. Until October 1, 2020, a valid California driver license or ID card can be used for federal purposes, including boarding a domestic flight and entering military bases or secure federal facilities. After that date, only a REAL ID card or other federally approved documents will be accepted, such as a U.S. passport, passport card or military ID.
Federal Non-Compliant Driver License - with "Federal Limits Apply" marking
“We want to make sure Californians are prepared to apply for a REAL ID driver license or ID card, if they choose,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Customers need to visit a DMV field office and bring original or certified documents with them when applying for a REAL ID.”
To apply for a REAL ID:
Make an appointment (recommended) to visit a DMV field office on or after January 22, 2018.
Provide proof of identity, such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
Present proof of your Social Security number, such as an SSN card, W-2 or paystub with full SSN.
Show a California residency document, such as a rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill or employment, medical or school document.
An original or certified copy of a name change document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, may be required.
A full list of document options is available on the DMV website. Customers can also use the REAL ID interactive checklist to gather the documents needed to apply for a California REAL ID driver license or ID card.
If you know you will not be boarding a domestic flight or visiting secure federal facilities or military bases, you do not need a REAL ID driver license or ID card.
You do not need a federal compliant REAL ID to do the following:
Apply for or receive federal benefits
Enter a federal facility that does not require ID (post office)
Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services
REAL ID and federal non-compliant cards are both valid forms of identification. All driver licenses, including REAL ID driver licenses, cost $35 and ID cards cost $30.
For more information about REAL ID, visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov.
Beginning January 22, all California driver licenses and ID cards will also have a new card design. The new card features include a gold miner image on the right side of the card and California poppies on the bottom left. Under ultraviolet light you can see an image of the cardholder’s photo, birth date, Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower.