A new driver’s license for Californians is coming out and you may not be able to get on a plane or on a military base without it by late-2020.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the new license has been in the works for years but the state hasn’t started issuing them yet.
“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 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.
Gonzalez said the state will start issuing the new ID cards to the public on January 22, 2018.
“This is really the last step for California, which means people physically coming into those offices and re-establishing their identity with the DMV if they choose to apply for a Real ID,” Gonzalez said.
That worries some people who were waiting in line at the DMV office in Clairemont.
“Look around the DMV, it’s congested, so it’s going to be a hassle but I do see the importance of it,” said Don Meadows.
Melanie Rundle agreed, saying, “It’s going to be a toughie, there is going to be some long lines I’m sure.”
Getting a Real ID requires more than your standard driver’s license renewal. To get the new card, California 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.
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 anticipated rush.
While the Real ID cards will begin being distributed on January 22, 2018, Gonzalez said federal officials will not require you to have the ID to fly or enter a federally secured location until October 2020.
“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.”
For people who don’t want the national ID and still want to fly, they can bring a valid U.S. passport. Officials warn that after October 2020, if you don’t have a REAL ID card or a passport, you will be stopped by security and not allowed to fly.