SACRAMENTO (KRON) – If you renewed your driver’s license or identification card during the pandemic, you may be eligible to upgrade it to a REAL ID free of charge.

In a statement Monday, the Department of Motor Vehicles announced a special offer inviting all eligible Californians who received licenses or ID cards during the pandemic but did not get a REAL ID to upgrade for no additional cost.

The offer expires at the end of this year.

“We don’t want Californians to pay the price for not getting a REAL ID during the pandemic,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “While the federal government has extended the enforcement date for a REAL ID, there is no need to procrastinate. If you act now, you can take advantage of this offer and upgrade to a REAL ID for free.”

An office visit is still required to obtain a REAL ID, along with presenting proper documentation including a valid Social Security number, proof of identity, and two proofs of California residency. You can see a list of qualifying documents and other information on the REAL ID website.

Usually, a fee is paid for a REAL ID at the time of driver’s license application for a new license or renewal.

Thanks to the offer, the fee will be waived for customers who received a non-REAL ID during that time if they upgrade now via the DMV’s website at

Beginning May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, 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.