REAL ID deadline sparks surge in requests; DMV appointment recommended

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Q: I wanted to share my excellent experience at the Pleasanton DMV recently. I needed to renew my driver’s license and get the REAL ID. I submitted all my documents online ahead of time and made an appointment at the DMV in the Stoneridge shopping mall. I arrived about 15 minutes early for my 1:30 p.m. appointment. I checked in with an employee sitting at the door, who gave me a number.

I had barely sat down in the waiting area when my number was called. The next employee checked my information. She was efficient and friendly. Five minutes later, I was in line to get my photo taken. The line moved quickly and I was out the door at 1:29 p.m., a minute before my appointment time.

Jon Lucas

A: People are getting REAL IDs at a more rapid pace now, as we get closer to the federal enforcement date of May 2, 2023. The increase in one recent month was 270,586 REAL IDs over the prior month. More than 14 million Californians now have their REAL ID, according to DMV data.

Beginning next May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or another federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, to board flights within the United States.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians should visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov, 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) 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 REALID.dmv.ca.gov for a complete list of acceptable documents and a link to the online application.

Q: Gary, I am writing to share a great Los Gatos DMV experience that I had last week.

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