Everything to Know About the REAL ID in California

If you live in California, beginning in October 2020, you’re going to have to make a trip to the DMV in order to have your driver’s license updated. This is because of the implementation of what is called REAL ID laws. It’s confusing,and a lot of people aren’t sure what it is if it applies to them and what they should do to be compliant with changes.

The following is a guide to the REAL ID for people in California.

What Is the Real ID?

The REAL ID Act was published in by Congress in 2005. The passing of the law was based on the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government put standards in place for identification. The Act includes requirements for security standards related to state driver’s licenses and ID cards. Federal agencies, under this law, can’t accept IDs from states that don’t meet the standards.

Starting January 22, 2018, air passengers with a driver’s license from a state not compliant with the REAL ID act that wasn’t given an extension had to show an alternative form of identification for domestic air travel to be able to board their flight. If someone showed an ID, starting in January 2018, that was compliant with REAL ID or the state was issued an extension, they could still use their driver’s license as their ID.

Beginning October 1, 2020, every state resident and territory residents are required to show a license or ID that’s REAL ID compliant. That would be needed to access Federal facilities, board commercial aircraft, and go into nuclear power plants.

If someone doesn’t have a REAL ID-compliantID, they would need a passport or something else that’s considered acceptable.

Under the law, the TSA still will not require young people under the age of 18 to show ID when traveling with a companion within the U.S.

You Have a Choice

California residents have a choice as to whether they’ll get a federally-compliant REAL ID when they renew their license or ID card, or if they’ll choose a non-compliant one. If someone opts for the REAL ID, they have to visit a DMV field office and show certain documents, some of which are detailed below.

If someone opts for a Federal Non-Compliant ID, they can renew online or by mail without visiting the DMV, but they can’t use it to board domestic flights starting October 1, 2020. These IDs will be printed with “Federal Limits Apply” on the front.

The California DMV Checklist

To help people meet the October 1, 2020 deadline set by the Department of Homeland Security, the California DMV created a checklist that shows people what they need to get their ID. A few things that people will need when they go to the DMV in California include:

  • One identity document showing your current full, true name, date of birth and identity—you must have an original document or a certified copy
  • You’ll need one document showing your social security number which could include a social security card, pay stub with full SSN or a W-2 form, among other options
  • Since April 2019, California residents are required to bring documents that show their California residency. The document needs to have their first and last name and match the address listed on the driver license or ID card application. Examples of acceptable documents include rental or lease agreement, school documents, or home utility bills.

How Do You Get a REAL ID?

Once you’ve ensured you’ve gathered all the documents you need, you can make an appointment to go to a California DMV field office. You don’t have to make an appointment, but it’s advised. You can complete your electronic driver license and ID card application online before going for your appointment.

Bring your documents, and you will have to pay a fee which is $36 in for a Driver’s License and $31 for an ID card.

As a final note, residents of California should keep in mind that some people thought they were getting ID cards that met the federal requirements, but in December 2018 it was announced the California DMV’s issuing process didn’t meet federal government standards. Californiaonly required one proof of residency form instead of two.

The federal government will recognize the 2.3 million REAL ID cards California issued already, but when those expire, the cardholders will have to go back to the DMV and show a second residency document.

Author: Dexter Sinistri

Dexter Sinistri is a famously centrist writer who has worked as a Hollywood correspondent for a number of leading publications since 2005. Though once a photographer, Mr. Sinistri struck out as a writer on all things celebrity, and he likes to consider himself a tremendous asset to Glossy News, though by most accounts, he has fallen somewhat short of this effort.