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California DMV Announces Offer For Free REAL ID

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Californians who renewed their ID or Driver's License during the pandemic can get a free upgrade to REAL ID.

The California DMV announced on Monday that they’re offering a free upgrade to REAL ID for those who renewed their ID during the past year. Starting in May of 2023, REAL ID will be required at federal facilities such as airports, courthouses, and military bases. It costs $38, and the DMV requires an office visit to obtain one. But during the pandemic, going to the office in-person was not possible.

Now Californians can get a free REAL ID through the end of this year if they renewed their ID card during the pandemic. Those who want the new ID can apply at the DMV's website by uploading their social security number and proof of California residency.

People are still required to come into the office to secure their new ID card, but a DMV statement said that REAL ID upgraders do not need to make an appointment and can come into the office for express service the same day they submit their online application.

Ellen (she/her) has a background in oral history, communication studies, and music. For the past two years, she has worked as a homelessness case manager in South Minneapolis. As a social worker, she got to hear compelling stories from her clients every day and is driven to amplify personal narrative as a source of empowerment and change. In her free time she bikes, plays double bass, and does queer stuff.