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CA DMV: Applying for a REAL ID requires an in-person office visit

CALIFORNIA — Californians applying for a REAL ID for the first time must visit a field office to complete their transaction, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Officials said eligible residents can renew their driver’s license online – including drivers whose temporary extensions expire July 31st.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV issued temporary extensions to California drivers age 69 and younger with a noncommercial license expiring between March and July 2020.

“While that extension expires today, nearly all of these drivers can still avoid a trip to a DMV field office by renewing their license online – even if their renewal notice states an office visit is required,” stated a DMV news release.

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed executive orders waiving in-person renewals for eligible driver’s license and identification cardholders who had reached their maximum of out-of-office renewals. With that wavier in effect for the length of California’s State of Emergency or until modified, nearly all California drivers younger than age 70 are eligible to renew their license online or by mail.

The DMV strongly encourages REAL ID applicants to fill out the online application and upload the required documents before their office visit. The DMV has issued automatic one-year extensions to drivers age 70 and older with expiring licenses.

Summary of California driver’s license extensions

  Expiration month Status
 Age 69 & younger  (noncommercial)Beginning March 2020Expanded eligibility to renew online or by mail for licenses
 Age 70 & older (noncommercial)March-December 2020Extended one year from original expiration date
 Commercial (all types, all ages)March-September 2020Extended to
September 30, 2020
 Learner’s permits   (noncommercial)March-August 2020Extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application

DMV field office employees are assisting customers with appointments at the specific office or with limited transactions that require an in-person visit.

The DMV continues to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals. Customers can use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.

If your driver’s license expires TODAY (July 31, 2020) and you are 69 years & younger, you can RENEW your DL ONLINE.

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