Q: How is a REAL ID different from my driver’s license?
A: 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.
Q: I’m ready to upgrade my driver’s license to a REAL ID. Can I apply online?
A: You can start the application process online to expedite your DMV visit. To do so, visit dmv.ca.gov/realid.
Getting your REAL ID is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. Begin by gathering your documents. One original or certified proof of identity and two different printed proofs of California residency are required. Check out the DMV’s interactive document checklist to see what qualifies.
2. Complete the online application and upload your documents.
3. 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.
Q: What happens if I don’t obtain my REAL ID by the May 2025 enforcement date?
A: As of May 7, 2025, people without REAL ID will not be able to board domestic flights using a driver’s license or identification card within the U.S. or enter secure facilities, such as military bases and federal courthouses. DMV officials urge people to upgrade their licenses to Real IDs before then.
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