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DMV offers free REAL ID upgrades for Californians

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Posted at 11:33 AM, Jun 22, 2021

Californians who received their driver's licenses or identification cards during the pandemic but did not get a REAL ID are now encouraged to get an upgrade.

The Department of Motor Vehicles announced June 21 that all eligible Californians who have not yet upgraded to the REAL ID are invited to do so at no additional cost. The DMV expects to have issued about 5.7 million driver's licenses and IDs that are not REAL IDs between the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through July 2021. Any customers who received a non-REAL ID during this time will have their application or renewal fee waived if they upgrade now through the department's website at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/realidupgrade/.

"We don't want Californians to pay the price for not getting a REAL ID during the pandemic," said DMV Director Steve Gordon.

This announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document such as a REAL ID driver's license to board flights within the United States starting May 3, 2023. To apply for a REAL ID, applicants must provide a valid Social Security number, proof of identity, and two proofs of California residency.

To apply for a REAL ID, applicants must provide a valid Social Security number, proof of identity, and two proofs of California residency. More information on what to bring to your REAL ID upgrade appointment can be found at REALID.dmv.ca.gov.