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California DMVs now taking applications for Real ID driver's licenses, identification cards

Calif. DMVs now offering Real ID cards
Posted at 7:31 AM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 23:21:48-05

(KGTV) - Californians can now apply for the new, federally mandated identification card known as the Real ID.

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 like military bases.

California DMV locations have started the process of issuing the new cards, but DMV officials say the new ID is optional until after Oct. 1, 2020.

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.

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.