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Technology & Security
The ‘Real’ Truth About REAL IDs

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin giving state residents the option to get a federally compliant REAL ID driver’s license or ID card on January 22, 2018. But there’s no need to rush to your local DMV after the New Year. Here’s what you need to know:

In 2005, the federal REAL ID Act was passed in response to the events of 9/11. The Act establishes minimum security standards of license issuance and production, and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting, for certain purposes, driver’s licenses and IDs from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The intention is to standardize IDs to keep us safer when we board a commercial flight, or enter a military base or other federal facility. California is one of the last states to offer federally compliant REAL IDs.

Do I need a REAL ID?
The federally compliant REAL ID is optional. If you have a current U.S. passport, passport card, military ID, or another form of TSA-approved identification, you’ll still be able to board a plane after the rule goes into effect on October 1, 2020.

After this date, Californians will be required to have a REAL ID driver’s license or ID, or another Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) approved form of identification to board a plane. So you’ve got a little less than three years to take care of this.

To get a REAL ID:
If you prefer to get a REAL ID driver’s license or ID, make an appointment at your local DMV for after January 22, 2018, and bring the following:

  • Proof of identify, such as a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card, or foreign passport with an approved form I-945.
  • Proof of California residency
  • Proof of your Social Security number.
  • Name change documents (if you are married, divorced, adopted, etc.)

You DON’T need a REAL ID to:

  • Drive
  • Vote
  • 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
  • Open an account at a financial institution

For complete information, visit Homeland Security