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Get Cleared for Take Off with REAL ID

Do you use your driver license or identification (DL/ID) card to get through airport security? Then you’ll probably want a REAL ID. Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require a REAL ID or other federally approved document to board a domestic flight.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has your ticket to get through security by offering a REAL ID – a new federal compliant option for driver licenses and identification cards. A REAL ID card is marked with a bear and star in the upper right corner of the card.

Avoid being delayed at the airport! To apply for a REAL ID, you must visit a DMV field office. Don’t forget to make an appointment to reduce your wait. Remember, you must bring at least three documents that include: proof of identity, social security number and California residency. No photocopies will be accepted for the proof of identity or social security documents. Be aware that if you have changed your name, a legal document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, also might be required.

Renewing your DL/ID online or by mail? You will receive a Federal Non-Compliant DL/ID card. This card is marked “Federal Limits Apply” and it cannot be used to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities starting October 1, 2020.


Don’t fret! These requirements do not go into effect until October 1, 2020, so you can still use a valid California DL/ID card at airports until then. If your current DL/ID card expires between now and October 1, 2020, the best time to apply for a REAL ID would be when you are due for a renewal. If you don’t want to apply for a REAL ID, you can use a U.S. passport, military ID or other TSA-approved identification document to get you through airport security.

Visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov for more information on REAL ID.

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