Real ID Is Not Required Until October 1, 2020

July 16, 2018 Last Updated: July 16, 2018

Real ID is not required until Oct. 1, 2020, but there are already long lines in many California DMVs, which started accepting applications in January of 2018.

“Federal government will require Real ID if you want to use it to get on domestic flight, or to enter many federal facilities and a military base,” said Armando Botello, Deputy Director from Office of Public Affairs of DMV.

However, it is not the only qualified identification people can use for such purposes. For instance, you can use your passport, passport card, employment authorization document, permanent resident card, or other federal issued documents that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other agencies deem acceptable.

Armando Botello was presenting in a July 14 workshop held by California Assemblyman Ed Chau, who serves the 49th district. He said that some DMVs now open at extended hours, starting at 7 a.m. except for Wednesdays.

Starting Aug. 4, about one-third of all their locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Bernardino, Long Beach, Pasadena, Culver City, etc., will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A complete list is available online here. Right now there are 43 offices open on the first & third Saturday, but for shorter hours.

He also stated that people don’t need to apply for Real ID. It’s totally optional. If you want a Real ID, which will function like your driver license and ID at the same time, you have to apply in person at a DMV and first make an appointment online at or by calling 800-777-0133.

Not everyone can apply for Real ID. Only people who live in the United States legally with a Social Security Number (SSN) can apply with the following documents, according to California DMV’s official website:

  • Proof of identity, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
  • Proof of California residency with a document that includes your physical address. Documents addressed to a PO Box must include the physical resident address on documents (for example utility bills).
  • Proof of your Social Security number, such as a SSN card, W-2 or pay stub with your name and full SSN.

Note: Name change documents, such as a certified copy of a marriage certificate or divorce decree, is required if your  name on your birth certificate is different than the name on your application.

If your driver license won’t expire before 2020, you probably should wait to renew it later and apply for Real ID at the same time to avoid wasting your time in long waiting lines.

The difference between Real ID and a driver’s license is in the upper right-hand corner. There is a golden bear with a star toward its back on the Real ID, and “Federal Limits Apply” on the driver license.

Botello also mentioned a new type of scam activity called Vehicle Identification(VIN) Clone. Scammers will attempt to get your VIN and use it for illegal title or property transfer.