What do I need to get a REAL ID in CA before the deadline?

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The new deadline of May 7, 2025, is one of many extensions since the law was supposed to take effect in 2008.


The REAL ID deadline for US domestic travel has been delayed once — but that doesn’t mean waiting until the last minute to comply with federal law.

The new deadline, May 7, 2025, is one of many extensions since the law took effect in 2008. A year before that, California DMV offices received a flood of REAL ID applications before the deadline. .

“The waiting time will increase closer to the deadline California DMV wrote on his website, so get your REAL ID now.”

The latest extension, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Monday, will provide some reprieve to California DMV offices working through the backlog created by the pandemic. Before the announcement on Mondayaccording to a previous report by the Bee, the deadline was set for May 3, 2023which was extended compared to the previous deadline of October 1, 2021.

California residents can complete their REAL ID applications online and then bring the required documents and application verification code nearest DMV office.

Here’s what you need to know about the REAL ID process in California:

What documents do I need to get a REAL ID in California?

Let’s be honest, going to the DMV can be a real pain, especially if you don’t have the necessary documents for your visit.

The process of getting a REAL ID for US domestic travel starts at home. Kab get a REAL ID before the May 2025 deadline:


Bring one of the following ID documents are accepted:

  • Valid US passport or passport card
  • Original or certified copy of US birth certificate
  • A valid permanent resident card
  • Foreign passport with valid US visa and approved Form I-94
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of US Citizenship
  • A certified copy of the birth certificate from the territory of the United States
  • Valid Employment Authorization Card (EAD) (I-766) or valid/expired EAD with Notice of Action (I-797 C)
  • Valid Employment Authorization Card (EAD) (I-766) or valid/expired EAD with Notice of Action (I-797 C)
  • U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad or Consular Report of Birth Abroad to a U.S. Citizen
  • Valid international passport stamped “Processed for I-551”
  • Valid international passport stamped “Processed for I-551”


To prove that you live in California, you must present two different documents printed documents that clearly show your mailing address. Documents can be printed online.

Remember: Both documents must show your first and last name and the same mailing address that was used on your REAL ID application.

The following documents are accepted:

  • Utility or phone bill
  • Insurance documents
  • Medical documents
  • Mortgage account
  • Employment documents
  • Property tax bill or statement
  • Deed or title to residential real estate
  • Confirmation of change of address by the US Postal Service
  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard issued by the California Secretary of State or a local California County Elections Official

Visit the California DMV website for more accepted examples documents proving you live in California.


To save time, you can fill out The REAL ID app before arriving at the DMV office.

The application will take about 30 minutes to process and will ask for your name, address, date of birth and social security number. You can stop your application at any time and pick up where you left off for up to one year.


Another tip to save time at the DMV office is to come with an appointment that can be booked online.

Don’t forget to bring the required documents, REAL ID application code and payment.

Find the office nearest you sign up for REAL ID. California DMV offices are located closed on weekends.

How much is REAL ID?

REAL ID costs $35like all other driver’s license fees.

What do you want to know about living in Sacramento? Ask your most important questions to our California utilities team in the modules below or by email utilityteam@sacbee.com.

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Brianna Taylor talks about accessibility in journalism for The Sacramento Bee, as well as general news. Before joining The Bee in 2021, she reported in Missouri and Maryland. She grew up on the East Coast and graduated from Morgan State University.

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