The star in the upper right corner will designate a Real ID.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will close all 183 California offices for the morning on July 24 in an “extraordinary” effort to train staff in the Real ID program. More than 5,000 employees will be trained in the complex program.

The offices will open at 1 p.m. that day. During the half-day closure, customers will still be able to:

  • Contact DMV Call Centers (1-800-777-0133)
  • Conduct transactions online, at ca.gov, including renewing a vehicle registration, changing an address, requesting a copy of their driving record or making an appointment.
  • Conduct transactions at DMV Now self-service kiosks located at grocery stores and select libraries, such as renewing a vehicle registration, filing for planned nonoperation status, submitting an affidavit of non-use, submitting proof of insurance, and paying a $14 insurance reinstatement fee. A map of kiosks can be found online.

In addition, AAA members may visit AAA offices to conduct some transactions, including vehicle registration renewal. Registration services also are available at California DMV Business Partners for a fee. Customers can search for partners with this online map.  

The training effort comes amid a deep dive by the DMV Reinvention Strike Team, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to lead a “comprehensive modernization and reinvention of the DMV with an emphasis on transparency, worker performance, speed of service and overall consumer satisfaction.” The Strike Team, led by Secretary Marybel Batjer of the Government Operations Agency (GovOps), was created in response to long wait times in DMV field offices, which were exacerbated by the federal government’s Real ID requirements.

This initiative, dubbed "Operation Excellence: DMV Training," is designed to “better prepare employees to process Real ID transactions and reinforce training on providing excellent customer service,” the DMV said in a news release. It “will result in more consistent customer experiences statewide and equip employees with the tools they need to handle an unprecedented volume of Real ID applications, which are more complex and take more time to process.”

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will require passengers flying within the United States to present a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card — or a passport or passport card — before boarding a plane. Real ID-compliant cards or another federally approved document will also be required to enter secure federal facilities such as military bases.

“The unprecedented complexity of the Real ID requirements is what led to the idea that we needed to take the extraordinary step of closing DMV offices for a short time to make sure all employees have consistent information in order to complete the transactions successfully,” Batjer said. “It is a complicated transaction, and we want customers to be well prepared in order to receive their Real ID efficiently.”  

The DMV is facing an unprecedented demand for services because of Real ID applications, which must be done in person in the field office and cannot be processed online or via the phone. 

"Field offices need to be prepared for at least a doubling of customer volume as the enforcement date approaches," the DMV news release says. "On July 1, 2019, the DMV will open an additional 53 field offices early to handle the summer surge, bringing to 69 the total number of offices that open at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to accommodate the increase in customers. The DMV also now offers Saturday service at 62 offices."

Operation Excellence addresses findings in a March 2019 report by the Department of Finance’s Office of State Audits and Evaluations, which determined that training was lacking at DMV. Report recommendations include more timely and comprehensive training for new hires and expanded training opportunities, particularly surrounding significant changes to policies and procedures including Real ID.