Your Complete Guide to California’s Real ID

Next year, California will enforce the REAL ID Act. If you don’t understand what the act is or what you need to do, you could unintentionally find yourself needing a traffic ticket lawyer Sacramento. Here’s your complete guide to California’s REAL ID Act and how it will affect you.

What’s in the Act

The REAL ID act was passed by Congress all the way back in 2005, but it has not been fully implemented yet. However, it will be next year, so you need to be prepared and compliant.

The act sets certain standards for driver’s licenses and other sources of identification. The purpose of the act is to minimize airline terrorism by making it increasingly difficult to forge identification and to increase requirements for obtaining documents needed to become an airplane passenger.

What a REAL ID Looks Like

A REAL ID looks a lot like the current ID you have in your wallet or purse. However, most states will include a black or gold star on the license. This star indicates compliance with the new law. If your ID has this star, you know you’re compliant. If it doesn’t have this star, you need to get a new one. Talk to your traffic attorney San Francisco if you have any problems obtaining a new, complaint ID.

How To Tell if Your Card Doesn’t Comply

In addition to having no star, noncompliant IDs will also say something like “Federal Limits Apply” or “Not for Federal Identification.” Without a compliant driver’s license, you will not be able to board any flights starting October 1, 2020. Even if you have legally purchased one or more tickets, you will not be able to board unless your ID has the required star insignia on it. Depending on the airline, you may or may not be able to receive a refund for any tickets you can’t use.

To eliminate stress and confusion when it’s time to board your flight, check now to make sure you have a REAL ID. If you don’t, learn what you need to do to get one. If you currently have a suspended license or any other identification issues due to traffic violations or any other reason, talk to your Los Angeles traffic attorney about making sure you receive an updated ID once your suspension period is up.

Applying for a California REAL ID

In California, residents were able to get REAL ID compliant licenses beginning January 22, 2018. If you have not yet received your updated license, you can make an appointment with your DMV online or at a field office. You can also call your local DMV to make an appointment that way.

When you arrive at the DMV, you will need to show the following:

  • proof of your identity (e.g. U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, employment authorization document, certificate of naturalization or citizenship, foreign passport with approved form I-94 or, permanent resident card).
  • Social Security Number proof (W-2 form, social security card, paystub, etc.)
  • Two proof of residency documents (mortgage bill, utility bill, rental agreement, etc.)

As long as you have all the required documents, you should be able to receive your REAL ID. Once you have it, you’ll be able to board domestic flights in 2020.