DMV Announces 6.8 Million Californians Have a REAL ID as Enforcement Date Approaches, Encourages Californians to Get Theirs Early

Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

Follow DMV

January 22, 2020

Sacramento – With less than 10 months before the federal enforcement date, 6,767,413 Californians have a REAL ID as of January 10, according to Department of Motor Vehicles data. This is a 459,976 increase over a month earlier when just more than 6.3 million Californians had received a REAL ID. DMV Director Steve Gordon also encouraged Californians who have yet to obtain their REAL ID to get theirs early while wait times are low.

Starting October 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases.

“We are encouraged that nearly 6.8 million Californians have a REAL ID, but we know there are millions more who will want or need them by October 1,” Director Gordon said. “We are asking that Californians be prepared and come to a DMV office now while wait times are low. No appointment required!”

The DMV began tracking the number of individuals who have REAL IDs as a more accurate reflection of the data. Since the DMV started offering the card on January 22, 2018, about 7.3 million REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards have been issued, including duplicates and renewals.

The DMV is deploying technological solutions and making process improvements to make it easier and quicker to get a REAL ID. Transaction times have been cut by more than half and the statewide average wait time in an office is about 30 minutes. In some areas of the state, customers participating in a pilot service can upload their documents before they get to the office to save time. Redundancies in the REAL ID transaction process at the office have been eliminated.

The DMV encourages Californians 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.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians must visit a DMV office and bring the following documents:

  • One proof of identity* – original or certified (examples: valid passport, birth certificate)
  • *Legal name change document(s) if name on proof of identity is different from the name on the other documents (examples: marriage certificate, adoption papers)
  • One proof of Social Security number
  • Two proofs of California residency – paper copies (examples: utility bill, bank statement)

Visit for a complete list of acceptable documents and a link to the online application.

The DMV has launched a number of initiatives to provide more service options outside of its offices and free up space for Californians applying for a REAL ID (no appointment necessary), including:

  • Creating a DMV Anytime webpage to easily connect customers with business partners for registration services;
  • Expanding DMV Now Kiosks to more convenient locations across the state;
  • Offering new online services, such as ordering replacement vehicle registration cards and stickers.

For a list of all online services, visit here.


Never miss the latest news from the California DMV. Sign up now to receive customized information on DMV related topics. To subscribe or unsubscribe, visit DMV News Alerts: