What Is Real ID and Why Do I Need One?
How will this work? Let’s use California as an example. Beginning in January 22, 2018, The California DMV will begin issuing both REAL ID Compliant driver’s licenses/ID cards and Federal Non-Compliant cards. For an added cost, the Real ID compliant cards will allow you to board commercial aircraft and can be used to enter military bases or federal facilities. Non-compliant cards are still perfectly legitimate forms of both identification and driver’s licenses. If you don’t plan to fly or go to a military base, you can get the non-compliant card, instead. However, you cannot have both compliant and non-compliant ID cards, not that anyone would need both.
REAL ID participation by states is voluntary, although Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver's licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states for official purposes. Each state is responsible for its own compliance with the program. Some states are already using Real IDs.
This is a list of all the states and territories that are compliant as of January 2018.
- New Mexico
- S. Dakota
- West Virginia
- American Samoa
- N. Marianas
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Virgin Islands
The good news is that you do not need a Real ID card to drive (however, having one will take the place of your driver’s license). You can still use your basic driver’s license to drive and if you know you will never be flying, or entering a military base or federal facility, you don’t need a Real ID.
How do you get your Real ID card? It’s fairly simple:
- Visit a DMV office (you can walk in, or make an appointment so you have less of a wait).
- Show proof of identity: a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card, or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
- You will also have to show a residency document (like a water or power bill with your name and address on it).
- Show proof of your Social Security number (SS card, passport, etc.).
Jeff Blevins is a published author who's left his footprint in the digital and scripted worlds. An entertainment industry veteran, his writing includes biographies, sports, automotive, education, and pop culture. The Seattle native -- and his keyboard -- live in Los Angeles.