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How to confirm your Real ID in California

The DMV began sending letters to 3.6 million Californians who Real ID cardholders. In most cases, you won't have to take a trip to the office to solve the problem.
Credit: AP
Ryan Norris, a license service representative at the Washington state Dept. of Licensing office in Lacey, Wash., poses for a photo Friday, June 22, 2018 while holding a sample copy of a Washington drivers license. Some Washington licenses and identification cards will soon be marked with the words "federal limits apply" as the state moves to comply with a federal law that increased rules for identification needed at airports and federal facilities. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Have a Real ID in your wallet? Well, the application process isn't fully over yet. Last Fall, the Department of Homeland Security told the state that it had not done enough to prove the residency of applicants. 

RELATED: 3 million Californians with Real IDs need additional proof of address

The bad news is - the DMV will soon be in touch with you. The good news is - it's not going to be a difficult process unless you have moved since you got your Real ID. 

On May 20, the DMV began sending letters to the 3.6 million Real ID driver license and identification cardholders who submitted one proof of residency when they applied for their Real IDs (instead of the two required by the federal government). 

The letter tells them that, in most cases, they will not have to return to the DMV. They simply have to provide additional information to satisfy the second residency document requirement. 

"When cardholders receive the letter, they will simply need to verify their address by checking the box confirming that the mailing address is correct, sign and date the document and send it back to the DMV in the prepaid envelope provided," the DMV said in a statement to ABC10.  

The DMV will continue to send the letters through the summer and plans to monitor which customers do not respond. If they don't respond, the DMV will contact them a different way ahead of the normal time for renewal of the REAL ID cards.


Don't forget, the Real ID is not a requirement. However, If you don't have it you will not be allowed to fly within the United States or enter secure federal facilities when new federal ID requirements kick in on October 1, 2020.

Anyone applying for a REAL ID driver license or identification card must visit a DMV office and bring specific documentation required by the federal government. 

You will need one proof of identity, one proof of social security number and two different proofs of residency. For example, a valid U.S. passport, social security card, rental agreement, and home utility bill will work. A name change document may also be needed if the name on the identity document is different than an applicant’s current name.

Find a full list of acceptable documents and a helpful interactive checklist at REALID.dmv.ca.gov. The California DMV put together a five-minute video to explain the application process. 


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