Some Californians will soon have to visit the DMV due to the REAL ID Act
Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the state are preparing for a rush of customers as the deadline to meet new federal standards for state licenses and ID cards approaches. The new standards mean that California fliers who use their driver’s license or identification card to board domestic flights will no longer be able to do so beginning Oct. 1, 2020, unless they come equipped with the federally approved IDs and licenses or have a valid U.S. passport or military ID. A significant share of California’s 26.4 million licensed drivers will have to go in-person to a DMV before the federal standards take effect. According to DMV statistics, over 7 million people also carried DMV issued ID cards last year. Jessica Gonzalez, a DMV spokeswoman, stated,
We wanted people to be aware. The challenge is that we don’t know how many people are going to come in.
Congress approved the requirement for REAL ID cards in 2005 after security flaws were found in many states’ driver’s licenses after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over two dozen states have complied with the licensing and ID standards so far, but California and some other states have been slow to meet to the new standards and have asked for extensions. The Trump administration made the deadline to adhere to the ID standards for October 1, 2020, at which point all domestic fliers will either need the federally approved IDs and licenses or will need to carry a passport or other acceptable form of identification. People who don’t fly or people who can use a U.S. passport or a different document instead of their license will not need to apply for the new ID. Gonzalez stated that people who choose to forgo the REAL ID cards can still use their regular valid license for things like driving or receiving federal benefits; however, undocumented immigrants will not be allowed to apply for a REAL ID.
Applicants for the REAL ID cards will need to provide physical copies of a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport or permanent resident card and proof of California residency. As well as a physical copy of their Social Security card or pay stubs displaying a full Social Security number. The REAL ID cards will be marked with a star and bear on the upper right corner. The DMV states that cardholders will be able to use the REAL ID cards when entering other federal facilities, such as military bases or federal jails. California DMV offices will begin accepting applications for the new licenses and identification cards on Jan. 22, 2018 and, hopefully, the REAL ID cards fix the security flaws that were found after the 9-11 attacks.