California DMV Begins Accepting Applications for REAL IDs

SACRAMENTO -- The line at the Department of Motor Vehicles was unsurprisingly long Monday morning as people lined up to do everything from register vehicles to take a driving test.

But there is a new service on the menu -- getting a REAL ID.

Monday was the first day for Californians to apply for one.

California's current driver licenses do not meet federal security standards. Two dozen other states are also non-compliant.

Starting October 1, 2020, the federal government will not accept driver licenses from those states at federal check points -- such as airport security and military bases. REAL IDs meet those federal standards, so the California DMV is encouraging Californians to apply for a REAL ID instead of simply renewing their driver licenses.

To do so, you have to bring specific documents with you. The documents must prove your identity, social security number and California residency. For example, you could bring a birth certificate, social security card and a utility bill.

REAL IDs are not mandatory. You will only need them if you want an ID that is universally accepted by both the state and federal government.

If you have another federal ID, such as a passport, you can still use for air travel without applying for a REAL ID.

California REAL IDs will look similar to the regular driver licenses, save for a golden bear on the top right corner. Regular licenses will read "Federal Limits apply."

Additionally, REAL IDs are only available to citizens and legal residents. Undocumented Californians will still be able to apply for driver licenses, but not REAL IDs. The cost for a real ID application is the same as the cost for a regular driver license renewal -- $35.