What’s the Deal with Real IDs?


Lately, REAL IDs have been a huge topic for conversation. There have been rumors of being unable to fly without having one, uncertainty about when they need to be issued, and confusion around which states are making REAL IDs mandatory. Here are some FAQ’s that will hopefully clear up any misconceptions you may have about these new IDs:

Why did the government decide to implement REAL IDs?

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as an effort by state & the federal governments to prevent terrorists from being able to obtain fake IDs.

Do I need a REAL ID in order to fly?

REAL IDs will be needed in order to board planes for domestic flights or enter certain government facilities. Alternatively, you may use your current passport in lieu of the REAL ID.

What do I need to bring to the DMV in order to obtain a REAL ID?

  •      One form of identification (U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. visa and approved I-94 form)
  •      Social Security number (Social Security card or W-2 form with your full SSN displayed)
  •      Residency documents – you may use your current ID, or two different documents such as a home utility bill, that lists your name and physical address (no P.O. Boxes will be accepted as a physical address).
  •      Name change documents if the name on your identification is different than your current legal name (marriage certificate).

Be sure that your name on your Social Security document matches your legal name change document. You will need all relevant items in order to obtain a REAL ID. Also be sure to make an appointment for the DMV, as wait times can be very long for walk-ins.

Are all states implementing the REAL ID Act?

At this time, the following states and territories have yet to begin issuing REAL IDs: Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands.

If I’m a California resident, what is the deadline by which I need to have my Real ID?

California residents need to have their REAL IDs by October 2020 in order to continue to board domestic flights without the use of a U.S. passport.

I have a Senior ID, do I need a REAL ID?

It is recommended to renew Senior IDs with the REAL ID—you never know if or when you will need to board a flight, and you will have a difficult time getting anything notarized without a valid ID. Senior IDs are free! Alternatively, a regular California ID will cost you a whopping $5.


The REAL ID Act was issued by the government in order to protect its citizens. With the right information we can be prepared for the upcoming changes, and stay ahead of the curve. Stay informed, my friends!

One thought on “What’s the Deal with Real IDs?

  1. On the bills you use , if your mail is delivered to a Po box it must have both fiscal and Po box address on it.

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