The Department of Homeland Security will again delay its “Real ID” requirement to board airline flights, this time until 2023, validating my recent decision to renew my license by mail. This takes the pressure off to replace your drivers license in order to travel without an alternate form of identification. Still, when the time comes here’s a guide on how to apply for Real ID in California.
Real ID Requirement Delayed Until 2023 By DHS
The Real ID Act was first passed in 2005 in an effort to ensure that state-issued driver licenses were secure by requiring a several identifying documents before issuing them. Plans to require a Real ID card to board domestic flights or enter other federal facilities have been delayed several times over state-level compliance and backlog concerns.
The requirement was set to (finally) kick in on October 1, 2020 but has been delayed again.
NBC’s @PeteWilliamsNBC: DHS will delay the requirement for air travelers to have a “Real ID” (previously scheduled for October 1), per two senior officials with knowledge of the plans.
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) April 27, 2021
The new date for the Real ID requirement will be May 03, 2023, about 19 months from now. A DHS spokesperson confirmed:
“Extending the Real ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card.”
COVID-19 is behind the latest delay, but there still remains a lag in people obtaining the card and an information deficit in public knowledge over the consequences of not having one.
Guide: How Do I Obtain A Real ID In California?
In California, an in-person visit to a DMV field office is required to obtain a REAL ID. The following documents are necessary:
- 1 proof of identity document that shows your date of birth and true full name, such as a valid U.S. passport (or passport card), original or certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, or valid Permanent Resident Card.
- 1 document showing your name and full social security number (SSN), such as a Social Security card, W-2 form, or pay stub showing full SSN.
- 2 different documents proving California residency that include the first and last name and mailing address that will be shown on your REAL ID driver license or identification card. Examples include a mortgage bill, cell phone or home utility bill, vehicle registration card, and bank statement.
The documents should all be original or certified copies and will be returned to you.
Documents can also be uploaded in advance here. Then when you show up at field office, you can enter the appointments line and bypass long queues.
If you are eligible for a mail-in renewal of your license and do not yet have Real ID, you will not be able to obtain Real ID via mail.
Your Read ID is designated by a golden bear in the upper right hand corner of your license or ID card. If you do not have Real ID, you will see a “federal limits apply” disclaimer in the upper right hand limit.
Why I Don’t Have Real ID…Yet
My California drivers license is up for renewal this year and I could have scheduled an appointment to go into a local DMV office to get a Real ID card but I didn’t, for several reasons:
- During COVID-19, online renewals are permitted even in cases where an in-person visit is ordinarily required
- When I travel, once the Real ID requirement goes into effect, I will simply present my passport or my Global Entry ID card, both of which will be accepted as secure federal ID cards
- I haven’t updated my picture in 15 years and I rather like my old and youthful mugshot…especially after the frankly freakish pictures I have on my Global Entry card (taken after a 12-hour flight when I was half asleep) and new passport (bad hair day and a turtleneck…)
Yeah, I’m not going to lie. That last reason is the main one.
Tip: do not wear your mask when you have your picture taken!
The deadline to present Real ID in order to travel on domestic flights or enter federal buildings has been extended to May 3, 2023. But while that gives you plenty of time, I’d rather carry an alternate form of ID than deal with the hassle of a California DMV office. However, if you do decide to get Real ID now, arrive prepared to avoid wasted time and frustration.
top image: TSA
I would have done the same, renew by mail, use alternate ID.
My state has been pestering us for years to get REAL ID. My DL expires in late 2023 and I have no interest in making an extra trip to the DMV. Now, worst case, I use my passport for just 6 months when flying domestically. But, best case, they’ll delay the REAL ID deadline again.
A bit of a correction. I just went through the process as I just moved to CA and needed a new DL regardless. You can’t make an appointment online (if you click through that link, you can see that they only accept appointments for drive tests), however they have an “express application” process where you upload all of the Real ID documents in advance and when you’re finished it instructs you to visit the appointments line when you arrive at the DMV to show the docs. I’ve completed the online part but haven’t visited the DMV yet, but it sounds like you technically have an appointment for whenever you want to show up at the DMV office you’ve selected.
Good point. Thanks Darin!
I just renewed mine by mail this morning after seeing the news of the deadline extension yesterday. I prefer to use my passport when I fly anyway, but I mostly just didn’t want to have to deal with the DMV right now. Earlier in the pandemic I had to get replacement registration stickers when a vandal scratched mine off, and I got to the DMV an hour before they open and I still had to wait in line for 5 hours.
I have my Real iD (Enhanced Driver’s License) since 2019. It was a long process but I am glad I got it done. Once you have it it is easy to renew it.
Are you sure that a permanent resident card will get you a Real ID in California? The ARC card will be accepted as a Real ID at the TSA, but my understanding is that the Real-ID-compliant driver’s licenses are only available to U.S. citizens. At least that is the requirement in my state (Washington).
All because CA gives drivers licenses to ILLEGAL aliens.
What’s funny is that the address on my DL is not even my current residence, but it is my mailing address for bank statements, etc., so I was easily able to “prove” that I lived there even though I don’t. This whole thing is a sham.
Dude, illegal aliens is not the preferred nomenclature. Undocumented immigrants, please.
@Carl – no. In California, Real ID compliant DL’s and ID’s are available for legal permanent residents and it states it clearly on their site: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-licenses-identification-cards/real-id/what-is-real-id/real-id-info-non-u-s-citizens/
Based on a quick web site search, it looks like your state Washington, issues only EDLs or Enhanced Drivers Licenses and these require US citizenship since they can replace a passport for use to enter Canada by land. It looks like your state does not issue stand alone Real ID Drivers Licenses unlike other states like Michigan and it seems they are directing non US citizens in your state to carry other IDs as needed.
How about “criminals”?
Oh, I thought that was a real ID policy. Can’t say that WA made the distinction easy. Last time I renewed my license I was required to do it in person for a new photo and they offered me the enhanced DL. I said “sure” and then found out that I can’t get one. Which is funny since I already have a Nexus card for crossing into Canada. When that is allowed. Plus I am married to a Canadian. Go figure
Ted Cruz: Wow. Getting an ID sure is a lot of work! I’ll just mail it in. I can’t be bothered to actually visit a government office.
Also Ted Cruz: if you can’t get an ID you must be an illegal voter! Strict voter ID laws only keep illegals away from the polls. Real Americans have plenty of free time to go to the DMV. FREEDOM!!!
It is not as hard as it seems. Maybe my observations are atypical since I use smaller suburbs’ DMV offices, but ever since Calif. reopened the DMV, I have found the DMV office to be absolutely dead. Shortest lines I’ve ever seen. Since Covid everyone can do almost everything online. I know when Calif. opened up CDLs to illegal immigrants, the DMV lines became completely unbearable, but it is not like that now.
What was so long about the process? I don’t recall much of a hassle to get mine in Manhattan. What I didn’t care for was that I couldn’t see the picture that would be used for the license.
@Andy K, @Joe Chivas, @Jerry and @Joseph N.
You can be fined up to $250,000 for calling someone an “illegal alien” in New York City.
Part of the license renewal process is confirming voter registration. For what it is worth, I am on the rolls in more than one state. They are overwhelmingly Democratic, so it wouldn’t make much of a difference if I voted more than once, but it just goes to show why purging of voter rolls and enacting white supremacy is necessary.
Oh, and why did this Leslie Pilgrim not redact that she weighed 145 pounds with a height of 5’6″? While this does not qualify as obese, it is by no means thin. COVID-19 deaths are a symptom of the obesity epidemic.
Sounds like you are an LPR and not a US citizen thus you cannot get an EDL but you can get a Nexus card. WA will direct you to an online questionnaire to advise what other ID can be used for Real ID requirements and that’s their answer to a Real ID DL. Other US-Canada border states like Michigan issue both EDLs for US citizens and Real ID compliant drivers licenses for others.