California DMVs will begin offering 'Real ID' cards January 22

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - California DMV locations will begin accepting applications for the new "Real ID" cards starting January 22.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, only Real ID driver's license or identification cards or other federally approved documents (such as a U.S. passport, passport card or military ID) will be allowed for Californians to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities. However, DMV locations will begin the process of issuing the new cards this year.

Though, the DMV said there's "no need to rush" to get the new card. The card is optional as well.

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"We want to make sure Californians are prepared to apply for a Real ID driver license or ID card, if they choose," DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. "Customers need to visit a DMV field office and bring original or certified documents with them when applying for a Real ID."

In order to apply for the card, Californians should:

  • Make an appointment at their local DMV office beginning January 22, 2018.
  • Provide a proof of identity, such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
  • Present proof of a Social Security number, through either an SSN card, W-2 or paystub with full SSN.
  • Provide proof of California residency. A rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill or employment, medical or school document will be accepted.
  • An original or certified copy of a name change document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, may also be required.

More document options are available online.

All California driver licenses, including Real ID driver licenses, cost $35 and ID cards cost $30.

The new ID will not be needed to drive, apply for or receive federal benefits, enter a federal facility that doesn't require ID (like a post office), or visit a hospital or receive life-saving services.

The change comes as a result of the federal Real ID Act of 2005, passed in response to the events of Sept. 11. The act is meant to establish minimum security standards for licenses and prohibit federal agencies from accepting, for certain purposes, driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s standards.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, California has filed an extension before the act takes over. Federal agencies will continue accepting driver's licenses and identification cards issued by the state under the extension.

Newly designed California driver licenses and ID cards will also be available January 22. The new card will feature a gold miner image on the right side of the card and California poppies on the bottom left. Under ultraviolet light, you can see an image of the cardholder’s photo, birth date, Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower.

For more information, visit the state DMV's website.

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