SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Californians who received their driver's licenses or identification cards during the pandemic but did not get the REAL ID can now upgrade for free, the Department of Motor Vehicles said in a release.
An office visit is still required to get the REAL ID upgrade, but eligible residents can do so by the end of the year at no charge.
The DMV said it anticipates issuing about 5.7 million driver's licenses and IDs that are not REAL IDs between March 2020 and July 2021 to customers eligible for one. A fee is paid at the time of a driver's license application or renewal but will be waived for customers who did not get a REAL ID at that time.
“We don’t want Californians to pay the price for not getting a REAL ID during the pandemic,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “While the federal government has extended the enforcement date for a REAL ID, there is no need to procrastinate. If you act now, you can take advantage of this offer and upgrade to a REAL ID for free.”
Starting May 3, 2023, in order to board a domestic flight and access a secure federal facility or military base, the Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or another form of federally-approved ID, including the REAL ID, a passport card, a border crossing card, and several other alternatives listed here.
To apply for a REAL ID, residents need to provide a valid Social Security number, proof of identity, and two proofs of California residency. More information on applying for a REAL ID can be found here.