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By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2018 (Sacramento) – California driver’s licenses will no longer be accepted as valid ID on airline flights in the U.S., or at military bases or other secure facilities after September 30th, 2020. It’s important to plan ahead to apply for a Real ID, since you may need lead time to obtain copies of documents such as a birth certificate, passport, or Social Security number if you don’t have copies currently, and you may need a marriage certificate if any of those documents are in a maiden name. You’ll also need to make an appoint to visit the DMV with these documents.

Below are instructions from the Department of Motor Vehicles on what you need to know if you plan to travel via airlines or access certain federal facilities in the future.

What is a REAL ID?

A REAL ID is a federally approved card that can be used to board a domestic airplane and access certain federal facilities after October 1, 2020. The current California driver license/ID card does not meet the requirements of a REAL ID and will not be accepted by TSA to board a domestic flight or by federal agents to enter certain federal facilities after September 30, 2020. However, both can be used for driving and identification.

Do You Need a Real ID?

The federally compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card is optional.

You can use the REAL ID as a form of identification to board a domestic flight or to enter military bases and most federal facilities.

Valid California driver license/ID cards will be accepted by TSA to board a domestic flight and by federal agents to enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020. Additionally, if you have a valid U.S. passport or U.S. passport card, military ID, or other federally approved identification, you may continue to use this as your form of identification after October 1, 2020, for federal purposes.

You DO NOT need a REAL ID if and to:

  • You know you will not be boarding a domestic flight or visiting a secure federal facility or Military base.
  • Drive
  • Vote
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
  • Enter a federal facility that does not require ID (i.e., a post office)
  • Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services.
  • TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

Are you Eligible for a Real Id?

U.S. citizens and all legal residents of the United States can apply for a REAL ID driver license or ID card.

How much does a REAL ID card cost?

The fees for a REAL ID card are the same as those currently charged for a driver license or ID card.

How to receive a REAL ID

  •  Make an appointment to visit a DMV field office
  •  Proof of identity (examples: U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94)
  •  Proof of Social Security Number (examples: SSN card, W-2, paystub with full SSN)
  •  California residency document (examples: utility bill, rental agreement, mortgage bill, medical document)
  •  A name change document, such as a marriage license, may be required.

Original documents or certified copies are required.  If you have additional questions on REAL ID more information can be found on the DMV website at

Jessica Gonzalez, spokesperson at the DMV, told ECM that everyone must have proof of a Social Security number as well as proof of California residency, as well as proof of identity, such as passport or certified copy of your birth certificate. If that proof is in a maiden name, then a marriage

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I got my new license last August and it does not look like the samples. Has the old timer in the corner but no Federal Limits text?