May 2018,  OneVoice CSDA Newsletter

LPC Corner – The Real ID Act of 2005

By Colin Anderson, Lead Attorney, Yolo County DCSS

An issue was raised at the latest Legal Practices Committee about the Real ID Act. It got me thinking that I really knew very little about the law or its requirements. So, let’s look at the Real ID Act and its impacts.   In 2005 that the Federal Government, in response to 9/11, passed the Real ID Act. The Act seeks to standardize driver’s licenses in all fifty (50) states. The law established certain national security requirements for driver’s licenses issued by the states. If you missed this or forgot about it, you are not alone. When I heard about this I was taken by surprise. So, how does it impact us as individuals and how will it impact our customers?

Starting on Oct 1, 2020 individuals traveling on domestic commercial flights, entering a military base, entering a Federal Building or using their ID for other Federal purposes will need to present a Real ID compliant driver’s license or State ID card. Federally compliant ID’s will be accepted in lieu of the Real ID such as a passport, passport card or US Military ID.

The question that came to my mind is whether it will be mandatory to get a Real ID. The answer is no. Your regular driver’s license and/or State ID card will still work in most instances. But it will not be accepted at a TSA counter to get on a flight starting Oct 1, 2020. Also, you will not be able to enter a secure federal facility like an FBI Office without the Real ID or say your passport. Non-secure Federal facilities like the Post Office will not require a Real ID or any ID, just as is the practice today.

Another question that came to mind is how this will impact undocumented immigrants who have a California Driver’s license under AB 60. (Essentially allowing individuals to apply for and obtain a driver’s license regardless of their immigration status.) The DMV website states that the Real ID will not impact an undocumented immigrant’s ability to receive a California Driver’s license or ID card. However, they will not legally be able to obtain a Real ID. Thus, domestic travel in the US for undocumented immigrants as of Oct 1, 2020 will be problematic.

The next question I asked myself is how do you or I get a Real ID? To get a Real ID you must do so in person. According to the DMV it is advisable to make an appointment. You must bring to this appointment the following:

  1. An approved identity document (examples include but not limited to a valid passport or birth certificate)
  2. Proof of your Social Security Number (your Social Security card or your W2 with your Social Security Number on it)
  3. Proof of California residency (such as a rental agreement, utility bills, etc.) The cost for a Real ID is the same as for a regular driver’s license or state ID card, i.e., $35.00

This maybe complicated for some of our customers and impossible for others with immigration issues to deal with these new requirements. But as October 2020 sneaks up on us we should all be aware of the impacts the Real ID will have on our customers and everyone in general.