You have 1 year to get a ‘Real ID.’ Here’s how

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SAN DIEGO -- California residents have been hearing about it in some form since 2005, but Tuesday marked exactly one year to the day they will need a "Real ID" if they want to fly within the U.S. without a passport.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, you will need a Real ID driver’s license or identification card to pass through security checkpoints at airports and secure federal facilities. There are some exceptions for other forms of approved identification, including passports and military IDs.

To get their card, Californians will have to make an appointment or walk in to a local DMV (you cannot apply for the Real ID by mail or online) and bring three things:

  1. An identifying document, such as a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, permanent resident card or certificate of naturalization
  2. Proof of Social Security number, which includes a Social Security card, a W-2 form or a pay stub with full Social Security number on it
  3. Two different documents providing proof of California residency, such as a rental or lease agreement, home utility bills, IRS or California tax returns, mortgage bill, records from a financial institution or document issued by a federal government agency

View a full list of requirements here 

Steve Gordon, the head of California's DMV, visited FOX 5 Tuesday. He acknowledged that some residents looking for appointments online might face a long delay before they can get into a local office, but he also said that walking in for a Real ID card has never been more efficient.

In addition to new training for clerks that should speed up the process, Gordon said there will be an option that allows you to check in and get a place in line, then leave and return to the office when a text message prompts you.

Find a local DMV office

California driver’s licenses cost $36, while regular ID cards are $31, according to the DMV website.

Those who have legally changed their name may also have to provide additional documents, such as a marriage certificate or adoption document.

Residents do not need a Real ID to drive, apply for federal benefits, vote or enter a federal facility that doesn’t require a form of identification (such as the post office). Those under the age of 18 also will not be required to have a Real ID to board a domestic flight.

The new requirements are a result of the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which was passed in response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It essentially standardized ID requirements for all states, marking the biggest change to driver’s licenses in years, according to the release.

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