Getting a Real ID
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) expects their field offices to be crowded in the summer months, as nearly 20 million residents have yet to come in to get their Real ID. Starting October 2020, this new identification card will be required to board a domestic flight without a passport or enter a federal facility. Since the only way to get one is to physically go to the DMV, I encourage you to make an appointment here to help reduce your wait time. However, during the holidays, field offices are slower and just walking in is an option. The average wait time without an appointment is under an hour these days. A 7:00 a.m. start time four days a week and Saturday hours have been added to several locations to accommodate the demand.
Before you go, please note that the federal government recently notified the DMV that anyone now applying for a Real ID must bring two proofs of residency. The list of acceptable residency documents can be found here.
If you have other DMV business unrelated to Real ID, some transactions can be done online, at self-service kiosks, by phone or by mail. Check out alternatives to office visits here.