What documents do you need to get your Real ID in California?

If you plan to travel by plane in the US or visit military facilities and don't want to carry your passport every time, you will need a California Real ID and the deadline for this is fall 2020, so timing is running out to visit the DMV and make the switch.

To ensure you don't get turned away at the DMV without your documents, we've put together a checklist of needed documents. Review the list below, book a DMV appointment, and get a head start on everyone else in California who will need to get a Real ID.

Read until the end and you can find out how to get someone to wait in line for you at the DMV.


Checklist of Documents You'll Need To Get a Real ID

When applying for a REAL ID, or renewing your state ID or driver's license into a REAL ID compliant one, you'll need to bring proof of:

  • Legal identity and/or presence,
  • Social security number, and
  • Two (2) documents proving California residency

Here's a quick overview of what documents are acceptable proof:

California Real ID Documents Needed

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1. To prove your identity and/or legal presence, you can bring one of the following:

  • Valid unexpired US passport or passport card
  • Certified copy of US birth certificate
  • US Certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Unexpired foreign passport w/ valid US visa and approved I-94 Form
  • Certified copy of birth certificate from a US Territory
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Valid unexpired Permanent Resident Card
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) Card (I-766) or valid/expired EAD Card with Notice of Action (I-797 C)


2. For your Proof of Social Security, you can bring one of the following:

  • Social Security card
  • W-2 form
  • SSA-1099 form
  • Non-SSA-1099 form
  • Paystub (with full SSN)


3. For your Proof of California Residency, you need to bring two (2) of the following:

  • Rental or lease agreement
  • Deed or title to residential real property
  • Mortgage bill
  • Home utility bills (including phone bill)
  • School documents, medical documents, employment documents, insurance documents
  • IRS or California FTB tax return
  • Change of Address by USPS
  • Property tax bill or statement
  • Records from financial institute
  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard
  • A document issued by a US government agency
  • Others, see CA DMV for full list


4.An Application fee of:

  • $35 for a class C driver's license
  • $30 for a state ID

In either cash or debit; credit cards are not accepted at the DMV.


5. To prove your identity if you've had your name changed:

  • Adoption documents that contain legal name
  • Name change document that contains before and after names
  • Marriage certificate
  • Certificate or registration of domestic partnership
  • Dissolution of marriage/domestic partnership document as a result of court action


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a California Real ID?
The short answer is this: If you plan to travel by plane in the US or visit military facilities and don't want to carry your passport every time, yes, you will need a California Real ID. This won't go into full effect until 2020, so you have time. But we definitely recommend applying for this sooner rather than later. We've outlined more information in this post here, including how this impacts Californians.

Do I need additional documents if I want to get a REAL ID compliant driver's license?
If you're renewing your driver's license, you will need to bring your current valid or expired license.

What are the fees for getting a REAL ID?
$35 if you're getting a Class C Driver's License; $30 if you're getting a state ID.

How do I make a DMV appointment?

You can make a regular one on the DMV website, or you can book an expedited appointment, or you can even pay to have someone stand in line for you!


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