Local DMV opens for ‘Real ID Saturday’ as deadline approaches

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SAN DIEGO -- California residents who want to fly without a passport have about seven more months to get the "Real ID" -- and with how long it often takes to get an appointment at the DMV, that deadline is closer than it might feel.

In order to accommodate the surge of people applying for the new IDs, DMV offices around the state are opening for "Real ID Saturday" this weekend. In San Diego County, the San Ysidro office will be open Feb. 22 exclusively to process Real IDs.

"October 1 is going to be here before we know it and we at the DMV don't want anyone to be stuck at the airport," said Anita Gore, deputy director with the DMV. "If you're going home to see grandma for Thanksgiving or you're traveling for the holidays, we don't want anybody to be stuck at the airport without the ability to get on their plane."

Customers can stop by the office without an appointment between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the DMV says. They must fill out the online application before their visit and bring the following required documents:

  • One identifying document, such as a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, permanent resident card or certificate of naturalization
  • One document proving their Social Security number, which includes a Social Security card, a W-2 form or a pay stub with full Social Security number on it
  • 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

Six other DMV offices in California are open for "Real ID Saturday" on Feb. 22: Chico, Davis, Laguna Hills, Reedley, Seaside and Ukiah.

"These Real ID Saturday events are in areas that don't normally have a Saturday office," Gore said. "We need people to come in and get a Real ID. We're trying everything we can to make it convenient for them and easy for them."

Another option for locals: The Chula Vista and San Diego-Clairemont offices are regularly open on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Appointments are recommended, however, and the office will be offering a range of services beyond Real ID applications. Find a complete list of the offices with Saturday service here.

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

California driver’s licenses cost $37, while regular ID cards are $32, according to the DMV website.

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.

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

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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