Help Prevent Future Heartbreak at the Airport by Getting a REAL ID for Valentine’s Day

Sacramento – More than 15 million Californians now have a REAL ID – an increase of 172,716 from the previous month – according to California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data.

“It’s been said that all you need is love. But soon, you’ll also need a REAL ID to fly to see your sweetheart who lives across the country,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “I’m sure it warms your heart to know we’ve made it easy to get a REAL ID. Just fill out the application online, upload your documents and you’re on your way. You will have to pop into an office for a photo and a thumbprint, but we can heart-ly wait to see you.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently extended the federal REAL ID enforcement date by two years to May 7, 2025.

The DMV is encouraging all Californians to consider getting a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card now so they can board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities in 2025. Not having a REAL ID or other federally approved document to get through airport security may cause you to get stranded at the airport and miss seeing your sweetheart.

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.

Historical REAL ID information:

  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of February 1, 2023: 15,110,226
  • Total REAL ID cardholders as of January 1, 2023: 14,937,510
  • Total REAL ID cardholders as February 1, 2022: 12,517,245

Online Services

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.

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