The California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin offering the option to apply for a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card beginning Jan. 22, at DMV offices statewide, officials announced. Californians may choose either a REAL ID or a federal non-compliant card.
The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed by Congress in response to the events of 9/11. Under the REAL ID Act, all states must meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its driver licenses and identification cards to be accepted for federal purposes, like boarding a domestic flight, visiting a military base or certain federal facilities, by Oct. 1, 2020.
The federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card is optional. A valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card, military ID, or other federally approved identification can be used to board a domestic flight or enter certain federal facilities. If a customer has another federally approved identification, does not fly, or does not plan to visit a military base or certain federal facilities, they do not need a REAL ID and will have the option to apply for a federal non-compliant driver license or ID card.
Valid California driver licenses and ID cards will continue to be accepted by TSA to board domestic flights and by federal agents to enter certain federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2020.
After that, a REAL ID or other federally accepted ID will be required.
“The DMV wants to make sure our customers are informed about their choices starting in January 2018,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said in a prepared statement. “If you choose to apply for a REAL ID, consider waiting until your renewal date, if possible. We always encourage customers to make an appointment when visiting a field office.”
A DMV field office visit is required to apply for a REAL ID card. Applicants should make an appointment and must be prepared with the following documents:
• Proof of Identity: like a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
• Proof of Social Security Number: like a Social Security card, W-2, or pay stub with full number.
• California Residency Document: like a rental agreement, mortgage or utility bill, medical, employment or school document.
• Name Change Document: This may be required if your identity document is different from the name on your application. A marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other court document will do.
Customers do not have to come into a field office immediately to apply for a REAL ID card. They can still use a valid California driver license or ID card for federal purposes until Oct. 1, 2020. Customers can always use a passport, military ID, or TSA-approved identification documents in lieu of a federally approved driver license.
A REAL ID is not needed to drive, vote as well as:
• Apply for or receive federal benefits (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration)
• Enter a federal facility that does not require ID, like a post office
• Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services
For more information on REAL ID, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/realid.