Your California driver’s license will not be enough to board an airplane late next year. By October 2020, if you want to fly, you’re going to need a federally-approved ID.
At the Monterey Regional Airport, and other airports across California, DMV employees have been talking with travelers about what’s called a REAL ID.
A REAL ID is a driver’s license that complies with new federal security standards. It sets a higher bar for establishing your identity.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act back in 2005, after the 9/11 tragedy. Beginning October 2020, travelers who use a driver’s license to get through airport security will need the updated card.
The DMV recommends applying for one now.
“We know that people are procrastinators by nature, most of us are. And so we want people to remember this, October 2020 is really around the corner,” says DMV Spokesperson Jaime Garza.
To apply for a Real ID, you’ll need to go into a DMV office and bring several documents:
- Proof of identity - e.g. U.S. passport or passport card, birth certificate from a U.S. state, foreign passport with valid U.S. visa and 1-94 form
- Proof of Social Security Number – e.g. Social Security card, W-2 form
- Proof of California Residency ( 2 documents) – e.g. home utility bills, medical documents, car or boat registration
The DMV create a webpage to help people round up the documents they need.
“And there's also a REAL ID Application Guide. It's a step-by-step video that shows you what some of the documents look like, that you should be looking for in your own home,” says Garza.
Getting a REAL ID driver’s license isn’t mandatory. To fly on an airplane beyond October 2020, you can also use other federally-approved identification.
“If you have one of those other documents, such as the passport, passport card, Global Entry card, and you'd rather use that, then there's no need for you to apply for a REAL ID,” says Garza.
California’s Real ID driver’s license has a bear with a star in the upper right corner.