Last Updated on December 4, 2021 by BVN

Carrie Stanton | California Department of Motor Vehicles

Carrie Stanton is Regional Administrator (Region 2, Bay Area) of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. (source:

The holidays are here and families are excited to get together and celebrate for the first time in over a year. 

Amid the pandemic, we’ve missed far too many Sunday and holiday dinners that have been a tradition for many families for generations. For many in our community, family dinner is about creating memories. For those families who will be traveling this holiday season, I encourage you to consider adding a REAL ID upgrade to your checklist when making your travel plans.

The California DMV suggests changing your driver’s license or identification card to a REAL ID as federal laws will soon make it necessary to have either a passport, REAL ID, or other federally accepted forms of identification to board local flights and enter federal buildings.

While getting a REAL ID isn’t required, it does make it easier to continue using your driver’s license to board a local flight or visit loved ones on military bases. To help make this change, the California DMV is offering free upgrades from now until Dec. 31, 2021 to people who renewed their license or ID card between March 2020 and July 2021.

Protecting the health, safety and security of our communities is what’s important and the REAL ID provides an extra layer of protection when traveling. Applying is easy and can be started safely online at Complete your application, upload the required forms, and plan your DMV office visit to finish. Don’t forget your documents and confirmation code– they will be needed for your visit.

Whether you are applying for a first-time California driver’s license or identification card or are up for renewal, a REAL ID may be the best option, especially if you plan to travel soon. Get back to creating those memories with your family. With shorter wait periods and an easy application process, now is the perfect time to start your REAL ID application so you’re ready to go when the time is right. 

As we continue to recover from the pandemic, many things in our lives are changing. In our community, many have started businesses, changed their lifestyles for the better and found new passions in life. Whatever is helping you get through these rough times is also playing a part in figuring out our new normal. Make the REAL ID part of that new normal.

Message from the editor: Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline to get a REAL ID, giving drivers and travelers until May 3, 2023, to obtain the new identification card. The department cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a driver in its decision to extend  the deadline from Oct. 1. It was the second time the REAL ID deadline was pushed back due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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