New REAL ID Law | Updated 1/14/19

drivers license application

Do I need a REAL ID?

You’ll have two options the next time you renew your driver license or ID card. The DMV is now offering REAL ID Compliant Driver License/ID cards and Federal Non-Compliant Drivers License/ID cards. The deadline to get a REAL ID card will  be October 1, 2020. Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office visit is necessary to apply for one.
What is the difference between a Real ID Card and Federal Non-Compliant One?
REAL ID Compliant Drivers License/ID cards allow applicants to:
  • Use it as identification to board an airplane.
  • Enter military bases and most federal facilities.
  • Those applying for or renewing a AB 60 driver license will not be eligible to receive a REAL ID.
Federal Non-Compliant Drivers License/ID cards:
  • Will require additional valid identification like a valid U.S. Passport to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities.
  • Card will display phrase “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY”.
The federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card is optional. Only one federal compliant REAL ID card may be issued (Drivers License or ID).
You do not need a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card to do any of the following:
  • Drive
  • 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

How Do I Apply for a REAL ID Card?

A DMV field office visit is required to apply for the new REAL ID card. To apply for a REAL ID card, you must do the following:
  • Make an appointment (recommended) to visit a DMV office.
  • Provide proof of identity, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card, or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
  • Show a California residency documents (2) that include your physical California resident address. Documents addressed to a PO Box must include the physical resident address on documents (for example utility bills).
  • Present proof of your Social Security number, such as a SSN card (not laminated), W-2, or pay stub with your full SSN.
The DMV will begin offering customers the option to apply for a REAL ID driver license or ID card on January 22, 2018.

REAL ID Enforcement Update: Extension Granted in California

The original implementation date for REAL IDs would’ve been January 22, 2019. But, the Department of Homeland Security found that The California DMV’s verification process did not meet regulations. Deadlines have been extended. Beginning April 2019, all REAL ID applicants will have to provide two residency documents. The California DMV was previously accepting just one. The 2.3 million who have already received a REAL ID will have to provide the second proof of residency.
The REAL ID cards issued are valid and will remain valid even  after the October 1, 2020 enforcement deadline. Again, those recipients will need to provide a second proof of residency when they are up for renewal within the next five years.