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REAL ID deadline is fast approaching, one year left.

Sacramento – More than 17.4 million Californians now have a REAL ID – an increase of 139,605 from April 2024 according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The DMV reminds Californians there is now just one year remaining before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security begins enforcing the REAL ID requirement. Starting May 7, 2025, a REAL ID, or other federally approved identification, will be necessary to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

“With just 12 months left before the REAL ID requirement, now is the time to act. We encourage everyone to avoid the rush and get their REAL ID now,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “Your travel in the U.S. will be easier, and you’ll be glad you got yours ahead of time.”

The application process can be started online at, where documents can be uploaded before visiting a DMV office to complete the application. This streamlined process is quick and efficient while significantly reducing the amount of time for an office visit.

The REAL ID does not replace a passport for international travel, but it does ensure that you can continue flying within the United States and accessing secure federal locations without additional documentation.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians should visit, fill out the online application and upload their documents. Customers must visit a DMV office and bring their uploaded documents to complete the application. By starting the process online, it should only take about 15 minutes in the office. Customers need to provide:

  • Proof of identity* – One original or certified document (example: valid passport, birth certificate) *Legal name change document(s) is required if name on 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.

Historical REAL ID information:

  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of May 1, 2024: 17,424,852

  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of April 1, 2024: 17,285,247

  • Total REAL ID cardholders as May 1, 2023: 15,634,447

Download REAL ID b-roll:

Online Services        

The DMV has taken many steps to offer more digital services. Most DMV tasks do not require an office visit. The DMV encourages customers to use its online services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.

To sign up for paperless vehicle registration and driver’s license renewal notices, customers must sign in or create a secure online account at, and then opt in.


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