The California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin offering this month a new driver's license that will soon be required to board a plane or enter a military base.
REAL ID is an identification card that acts as both a California driver's license and a federally-compliant ID, which will be required starting October 1, 2020 to board domestic flights or to enter secure federal facilities. Californians are not required to obtain the card, but without it, they can't fly within the states or enter military bases.
“It’s not mandatory, so if you don’t fly or enter federal facilities that require ID or military bases, you don’t need a Real ID,” Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California DMV said.
The DMV will begin offering the REAL ID licenses on January 22, but emphasized there is no rush to get one because Californians have until 2020 before the new law takes effect.
Gonzalez told NBC 7 Responds last November, the DMV knows a rush is inevitable and offices across the state are anticipating it.
“We want to try and make it work out along the way,” Gonzalez said, “We don’t want everyone rushing in the first day and we don’t want people waiting until the last day but we know we’re going to get both of those things.”
Gonzalez said the DMV plans to hire more workers and bring back Saturday office hours at 60 locations across the state to deal with the rush.
After the law takes effect, a U.S. passport, passport card or military ID will also act as federally-compliant identification.
The new licenses stem from the Real ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 after the events of 9/11, Gonzalez said. Homeland Security established Real ID, a standardized card that serves both as a driver’s license and a federally approved identity card.
The DMV recommends people make an appointment and visit a field office to obtain a REAL ID. Residents will need to bring a social security card, W2 form or pay stub with your full social security number printed on it, your birth certificate and proof of your current California residence. A full list of what will be accepted can be found here.
The DMV has created an interactive checklist so residents know what to expect during the process to obtain a REAL ID.
The federally-compliant card costs the same amount as non-compliant California identification cards -- $35 for driver's license and $30 for identification card.
When REAL ID cards go on sale, they will also come with a new design featuring a gold miner and California's state flower, the poppy. Standard identification cards will also get the new design.