California DMV gets last-minute extension for REAL ID

California DMV real id
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 21:22:31-05

(KGTV) — Despite the Department of Homeland Security being shut down, the agency made a buzzer-beating decision this afternoon, that will give California more time to bring our REAL ID's up to federal standards.

The state DMV started issuing what's called REAL ID, California drivers licenses that follow federally approved guidelines, Jan. 22, 2018.

But entering Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security hadn't formally approved the state's REAL ID issuing practices. That meant, after Jan. 22, 2019, Californians visiting federal facilities or traveling by air domestically would need a passport or other form of federally approved identification in addition to their current drivers license.

RELATED: Feds tell California to make REAL ID requirements stricter

But just in the nick of time Wednesday afternoon, DHS granted California an extension, giving DHS more time to review California's REAL ID issuing practices.

So what does this mean? For DMV it's business as usual.

Do I need a REAL ID if I am flying out of state, tomorrow?
No. If you are traveling before October 1, 2020, just show your regular, unexpired California license.

What if I already have a REAL ID? Is it valid anymore?
If you already have a REAL ID now, it is valid until your ID expires. Last November, DHS told California that people who apply for a REAL ID must now physically bring in two forms of proof of residency, not just one.

When you renew your REAL ID in a few years, the California DMV will ask you then to show two forms of proof of residency, a process they say will be available online or by mail in the future.

What if I don't have a REAL ID yet?
If you begin your REAL ID application between now and April, you can just bring one form of proof of residency. When you renew, you will need to provide two.

If you begin the application process after April 1, 2019, you will need to bring two forms of proof of residency.

Do I even need a REAL ID in the first place?
It depends. If you know you will not visit federal buildings after October 1, 2020, or if you choose to use your passport when flying domestically, you don't need one.

Here's the bottom line:
Because the California DMV was granted an extension today, your old California ID's as well as your current REAL ID's are valid until October 1, 2020.
If you want to use your California driver's license as an ID to get into federal buildings or travel domestically (without bringing another form of ID like a valid passport), you need a REAL ID in hand on and after October 1, 2020.