California will offer REAL ID cards beginning January 22, 2018. Do you need a REAL ID card? Here are the answers to common questions about REAL ID.
What is REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act of 2005 requires state-issued driver’s licenses and personal ID cards to meet certain standards in order to be accepted by a federal agency. This includes domestic air travel and entry to military bases and many federal facilities. The DMV will offer federally compliant REAL ID cards beginning January 22, 2018.
How does it affect me?
TSA will begin requiring REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or other acceptable form of identification on October 1, 2020. Other TSA-approved forms of ID such as U.S. passports will still be accepted. See TSA’s website for a complete list of accepted forms of ID.
According to the DMV, you will not need a REAL ID to do the following:
- Apply for or receive federal benefits (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
- Enter a federal facility that does not require ID (i.e. a post office)
- Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services
(DMV, REAL ID Act.)
You will also not need a REAL ID to vote, register to vote, “participate in law enforcement proceedings,” or access “constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings).” Department of Homeland Security, Real ID Frequently Asked Questions for the Public.
How do I apply for a REAL ID?
Beginning January 22, 2018, the DMV will offer REAL ID driver’s licenses and ID cards. The following steps are required by the DMV:
- Make an appointment to visit a [DMV] field office on or after January 22, 2018.
- Provide proof of identity, such as a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
- Show a California residency document.
- Present proof of your Social Security number.
(DMV, Real ID Act.)
I heard that the State of California was not in compliance with the REAL ID Act. What does that mean?
California is not in compliance with REAL ID. It was granted an extension by the Department of Homeland Security, and therefore California driver’s licenses and IDs may be used for domestic air travel until October 1, 2020.
What if I hold a driver’s license or ID from a state other than California?
Information on state compliance is available on the Department of Homeland Security website, https://www.dhs.gov/real-id.
Where can I find more information on REAL ID?
- Are you ready for REAL ID? DMV video
- DMV REAL ID information
- REAL ID and Air Travel TSA Fact Sheet
- Department of Homeland Security REAL ID FAQs
- REAL ID Act (PDF document)