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DMV officials urging residents to upgrade to REAL ID

More than 17 million Californians now have a REAL ID – an increase of 138,835 from the previous month – according to California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data.

Officials are urging residents to skip the chocolate and flowers and instead, ‘Show your love for travel this Valentine’s Day’ by upgrading to a REAL ID.

“Swipe right on a REAL ID,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “You’ll love how easy it is to get one.”

There is no need to wait for the federal enforcement date of May 7, 2025, that requires a REAL ID or other federally approved document to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities.

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.

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.

Total REAL ID cardholders as of Feb. 1, 2024: 17,009,013; up from the Jan. 1, 2024 figure of 16,870,178 and up from the Feb. 1, 2023 number of 15,110,226.

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.