By Joan Walsh
The Real ID is a federally recognized form of identification that is now required to board flights and to enter federal buildings such as a courthouse or military base. Without one a passport would be needed since a regular California Driver’s License would not suffice after the deadline. The deadline is set to acquire the Real ID. Originally pushed back from 2020 due to Covid the new deadline is May 3, 2023.
The process of obtaining a real ID is similar to a regular driver’s license. A log in account is needed for the DMV website and one can fill out the forms and upload identification documents. While the system lets the user upload the documents, they also must be brought in person at the physical appointment. A passport or birth certificate is needed as well as 2 forms of proof of physical residence which include a phone bill, utility bill, or bank statements. The DMV has useful information on the website to walk through the process and tutorial videos.
For many this might not make a difference but for people who fly and do not own a passport this could be a problem.
I wanted to see how easy it was for myself. My driver’s license was expiring soon so I went to the website to apply. After logging in there was some information to fill out, but it was pretty standard. There was an option to upload residency documents, but I thought it was pointless since it was also required to bring in person. I had to find some documents with my address on it so I got my utility and phone bill. I was able to get the appointment pretty quickly which is good, but I can only imagine it being busy closer to the deadline.
Of course, there was a long line at the DMV. There was a line for appointments and then for those who did not have an appointment. Once I was checked in it wasn’t too bad. I waited about 5 minutes to be called. I think the problem with long waits happens when you don’t have an appointment. From there I just had to present the documents, take an eye test and pay and then I was done. The new ID should arrive within a month.