Real ID Requirements in General and for Access to Federal Courts and Boarding Domestic Flights
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The 2005 Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles started offering REAL ID driver’s licenses and ID cards on January 22, 2018. A REAL ID is needed to board a domestic flight beginning October 1, 2020, to enter secure all federal facilities or any military base beginning October 1, 2020 or to purchase firearms or ammunition in the State of California. You will not be required to have a REAL ID to apply for or receive federal benefits which may include but are not limited to Veterans Affairs Benefits, Social Security Administration Benefits such as Social Security etc…, to enter a United States Post Office or other federal facility that does not require identification to enter, to visit a hospital or to receive life-saving services, to ride Amtrak or other California public ground transportation or to drive your vehicle with a Class C Driver’s License in the State of California. An in person visit to any California Department of Motor Vehicles office will be required to apply for a REAL ID. When arriving at the Department of Motor Vehicles you will need the following documents in order to obtain a REAL ID include:
- An unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
- A certified copy of a U.S birth certificate (issued by a city, county, or state vital statistics office).
- A valid certificate of birth abroad or Consular report of birth abroad of U.S. citizen.
- A foreign passport with valid U.S. Visa and approved I-94 form.
- A Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
- A Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship.
- An unexpired Permanent Resident Card. Valid/unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card (I-766) or valid/expired EAD Card with Notice of Action (I-797 C).
- Proof of Residency in the State of California which may be in the form of utility bills, medical bills, car or boat registration, insurance, bank statements, mortgage or rental contract, tax return, deed etc…
You can complete your application for a REAL ID online and make an appointment to save yourself some time waiting in line at the California Department of Motor Vehicles, make sure that you bring all of the required documentation to the appointment. For more information on obtaining a REAL ID and/or the benefits of obtaining the REAL ID visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Website at https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs or the California Department of Motor Vehicles Website at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/realid.