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What is a Real ID and When Will I Need One?

The introduction of the Real ID in California is a measure that offers more security for identification and driver’s licenses, which is a direct reaction to the REAL ID Act of 2005. Originally planned as an October 2020 rollout in California will now be enforced as of October 1st, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The act provides a guideline for preset standards on identification. The act also stated that federal establishments would no longer accept ID from states that have not met the predetermined criteria. 

What is a REAL ID?

It is a common misconception that this card is a new type of identification document when in actuality, it represents a newly set standard that is necessary for updated security protocols nationwide. If the only identifying form an individual has is their driver’s license, they need to get a new compliant license or use their passport or passport card. 

All California residents will now have a bear and star at the top right-hand corner of their license, showing their ID has been Real ID approved. Citizens who reside outside of California will likely find a black or gold star on their new licenses. 

Why Do I Need a REAL ID?

The federal government has decided that the previous drivers’ licenses and identification cards are not enough to minimize terrorist attacks. Therefore, a new Real ID will provide extra security for domestic travel. 

Ever since the September 11th tragedy, the government has introduced new security measures to avoid future attacks. For obvious reasons, airports saw the bulk of these new security measures. TSA ramped up their guidelines and put new safety protocols into place. Now, the program will hopefully combat the use of fake IDs in federal facilities. 

In the past, each state had its own driver’s license guidelines for its citizens to meet and uphold; however, this allowed some people to create forged identification from differing states. These forgeries relied on the different steps to obtain your driver’s license from state to state, making it easier to fly domestically from various airports around the country. 

The REAL ID Act of 2005 introduced stricter guidelines nationwide. Compliant driver’s licenses are created with the latest technology and complexities, making it increasingly challenging to develop and obtain a fake ID. 

A passport, social security card, and California driver's license. The documents needed for a Real ID.

Are There REAL ID Requirements?

In past years, one or two sources of identification were necessary when renewing a California license. However, with the more secure ID, more information is needed. All applicants must arrive at their local DMV with the following acceptable forms of identification:

·      Proof of Identification: This proof of ID must be original or certified. These ID forms can be a valid passport, a birth certificate, or other official means of identification.

·      Social Security Number: Unfortunately, knowing your social security number is no longer enough when applying for your Real ID in California. You must show legal documentation of your social security numbers, such as the certified card that has your name and number. 

·      Proof of Address: California residents must provide their DMV location with two forms of residency. These can be a mortgage, lease, or utility bill that clearly shows your name and address.

Tips to Remember

Like California, most states have a complete list of necessary documents when issuing a Real ID. Before you leave for your trip to the DMV, we suggest that you cross-check your documents you plan to bring to your appointment with the list provided on the DMV website. Showing up with inadequate documentation will result in a denial of your Real ID request, and you’ll have to come back again with the correct forms. 

Although making an appointment for your trip to the DMV may save you time, it is not required when applying for your new ID. Citizens may visit the DMV at their convenience. However, it is necessary that you fill out the application form before you arrive. The application can be found on the DMV website, where you can print off the form, fill it out, and bring it with you to get your Real ID. 

While the Real ID Act’s enforcement doesn’t go into effect until October 1st, 2021, it is recommended that you not wait until the last minute to apply for yours. Applying for your Real ID ahead of time ensures you’ll be ready for the transition. However, if you need to board a plane and haven’t gotten your one yet, the Transportation Security Administration has a list of documents on their website that airports will accept in place of the new ID.

How Do I Learn More?

To learn more about applying for a Real ID, contact the experts at Alliance Defensive Driving School at (760)-638-5835. Our licensed professionals will be happy to answer any questions you have.

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