Officials urge Californians to obtain REAL IDs well before the October deadline
Hoping to avoid another crunch at the Department of Motor Vehicles later this year, transportation officials gathered at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, Feb. 13, to remind Californians to get their Real IDs now if they want them.
Beginning Oct. 1, those hoping to use their driver license to board domestic flights will need them to double as Real IDs, which requires at extra step, or have another federally approved ID.
Real IDs have been offered in California since January 2018, and so far seven million have gotten them. Officials anticipate an additional 9 million will attempt to get theirs before Oct. 1.
“We’re hoping to get people in in an early fashion, that’s our design,” said Steve Gordon, director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. “That’s the only way we’re going to be able to serve this size of the community. If we get people to act now, we’ll be in better shape.”
What the DMV doesn’t want is shades of early 2018, when those getting Real IDs, added to the usual crush of drivers needing other services, created waits for some that stretched into four or five hours or more.
The DMV took measures to greatly reduce the public’s time spent at its offices, including hiring hundreds of employees and expanding office hours – and spreading out those who seek their Real IDs this year would greatly help.
If you want to get a Real ID, here is what you need to know:
Q. What is Real ID?
A. In California, it is a driver license or DMV-issued ID Card but with a California bear and star in the top-right corner. The program was approved in 2005 by the U.S. Congress, motivated by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, to establish minimum security standards.
Q. Why do I need a Real ID?
A. You might not. It is one way to get onto a domestic flight, into federal facilities including courthouses and onto the grounds of nuclear power plants.
Q. Will other forms of identification be accepted?
A. Yes. They include a passport issued by the U.S. or another government, a Department of Homeland Security traveler card, a permanent resident card and a U.S. Department of Defense ID. A full list can be found at tsa.gov.
Q. Can you obtain a Real ID after Oct. 1?
Q. What do I need to obtain a Real ID?
A. This is what is required:
•An identification document such as a birth certificate or passport.
•A document that has a Social Security Number, such as the Social Security Card or a W-2 form.
•Two proof-of-residency documents; they can be a utility bill, a vehicle registration, a rental or a lease agreement, a mortgage bill or a bank statement.
(A full list of accepted documents are at realid.dmv.ca.gov.)
Q. How long will it take to obtain a REAL ID at the DMV?
A. The DMV has streamlined the process to about 10 minutes, said Gordon, the DMV director. Waits vary, though, and DMV officials recommend getting an apointment. If you can’t get one to your liking, they suggest going to an office that is open on Saturdays – not all are – after 2 p.m. when crowds tend to be lighter.
Residents can reduce their time spent in a DMV office by filling out an application and uploading documents at the Real ID website.
Q. How much does it cost to obtain a Real ID?
A. $37, the same amount as a driver license.
Q. Do those under 18 years old need a Real ID to travel on a domestic flight?
But the minor must be traveling with a companion who has a Real ID or other accepted identifcation.