More Than 7 Million Californians Have a REAL ID as Enforcement Date Approaches

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Sacramento, CA 95818
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February 7, 2020

DMV continues to urge people to come to an office now while wait times are low

Sacramento – With less than eight months before the federal enforcement date, more than 7.1 million Californians have a REAL ID as of January 31, according to Department of Motor Vehicles data. This is a 381,570 increase over a month earlier when more than 6.8 million Californians had received a REAL ID. DMV Director Steve Gordon continues to encourage Californians to come to a DMV office now while wait times are low and offices are less crowded.

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.

“More than 7 million Californians are REAL ID ready and don’t have to worry about not being able to fly come October,” Gordon said. “The DMV invites Californians to complete the online application, gather their documents and come to a DMV office now to get a REAL ID – no appointment is necessary.”

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 7.8 million REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards have been issued, including duplicates and renewals.

More than 2 million customers were served in DMV offices statewide in January 2020 – a record for any month. This includes transactions of all types, including REAL ID. The average wait time in an office during January was 16 minutes for those with an appointment and 43 minutes without an appointment.

“These numbers prove the technological solutions and process improvements we are making are indeed building capacity in the office to better serve more customers,” Gordon said.

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:

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