Californians applying for a driver’s license or identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles now have an improved and easy-to-use online application. The new design includes simple modules for customers to follow, simplified language and clear instructions to make the application easier for DMV customers and cuts the time it takes to complete in half.
The newly updated application offers a seamless transition from the application itself to REAL ID document verification for customers applying for a REAL ID. After completing the application, the system will then give customers the option to upload their documents, take the knowledge test online for those eligible and schedule an appointment for an office visit all by following a few simple steps. When customers arrive at their appointment with their uploaded documents and confirmation code, DMV team members can quickly access the completed application and finalize the transaction in a few minutes.
“Applying for a driver’s license or identification card is even easier with our new online driver’s license and ID application,” said DMV director Steve Gordon. “This upgrade is just another way the DMV continues to modernize our systems to save you time and limit the work required on your end.”
The online application, which DMV has offered since 2018, is available in 10 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), Korean, Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese and Hindi. Californians must sign in or create a secure online account at dmv.ca.gov to begin the application, which now takes about 10 minutes to complete.
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 vehicle registration renewals. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV business.
Get Your REAL ID
To apply for a REAL ID, visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov, fill out the online application and upload your documents. A visit to a DMV office is required to complete the application.
Starting May 7, 2025, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved documents, like a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases.