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REAL ID Checklist

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REAL ID Checklist

Beginning October 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security requires your driver license (DL) or identification (ID) card be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board a domestic flight or enter military bases and most federal facilities.

To prepare customers, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has created an interactive checklist to provide you with the documents you will need to apply for a California REAL ID driver license or ID card.

Follow the steps indicated on the top of each page. The checklist is for your personal use – you will not be asked to present this list to get a REAL ID driver license or ID card.

Note: Using the REAL ID Checklist does not guarantee you will be able to obtain a REAL ID card. This is a guide to help you through the process. There are special circumstances that are not covered by the checklist. Please visit the REAL ID webpage for more information. There are driver license and ID card fees associated with applying for a REAL ID card, also knowledge and/or vision tests may be required. An individual can only receive one REAL ID card, either a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card, an individual cannot have both.


Step 1 of 5: Prove Your Identity (original or certified copy only)

To apply for a REAL ID card, you must present one identity document, which shows your date of birth, true full name, and identity. Select ONE document you will use.

Select a document that has your current true full name (first, middle and last). An original document or certified copy is required.

Note: California law requires an applicant to provide true full name, which is the name that will appear on your physical DL or ID card.

Step 2 of 5: Check Your Name

Is your current true full name (first, middle and last name) the same as the name listed on the identity document you selected in step 1?

If the name on your identity document is different from the name you provided on your application, you must submit a certified document that establishes your true full name.

NOTE: Multiple name change documents are needed if your name has changed multiple times.

Note: If your true full name is not listed on your identity document, you will need to provide a document showing your true full name.

To document your name change, bring documents that connect the name on the identity document you selected to your current true full name (first, middle and last name). Select the documents you will use (this can be more than one if needed to connect the name listed on your identity document to your true full name). An original document or certified copy is required.

Step 3 of 5: Add Your Social Security Number (full number required, no photocopies)

Select ONE document you will use that contains your full Social Security number (SSN). An applicant must present any of the following genuine documents bearing the name of the applicant and their full Social Security number:

Note: The California DMV will electronically verify your name, date of birth and SSN with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Make sure your document is up to date and accurate to avoid delay. If you have changed your name, the name on your Social Security document must match your legal name change document. If you need to correct or update information with SSA, do so several days before you apply for a DL or ID card. If eligible, you can request a replacement SSN card on the SSA website.

If you are ineligible for an SSN, you may still apply for a REAL ID Compliant DL/ID.

Step 4 of 5: Where Do You Live? (printed copies are accepted, no electronic files)

To establish California residency, you must present one document that contains your residence address. The document must list the applicant’s first and last name and match the residence address as listed on the driver license or ID card application.

Use a P.O. Box? Proof of a physical address is required. A P.O. Box can be used as the mailing address to receive your REAL ID, but your residency document must display a P.O. Box and physical address.

If the residency document addressed to you is not readily available, you may use a birth certificate, marriage license, or domestic partner registration certificate to trace your relationship to the individual to whom the acceptable residency document is addressed. For example, a child may use a residency document in their parents’ name by presenting a birth certificate showing the relationship. The name on the residency document must match the name on the tracing document.

If the residency document reflects a name that differs from the tracing document due to a name change (for example, marriage, divorce, or court order), additional documentation will be required as evidence of the name change. For example, a child may use a residency document with the mother’s name differing from the birth certificate by also presenting a marriage certificate and/or dissolution of marriage document showing the mother’s different last name, which is on the residency document.

Select ONE document you will use.

Minors may use one of the following forms approved and issued by the California Department of Social Services and executed by an agency administering foster care duties to trace their relationship to the individual to who a residency document has been addressed:

Step 5 of 5: Get Your Documents

The following list contains the documents you need to bring with you to a DMV field office. You can print this list for future reference.

Your identity document – make sure it is up to date and correct.

Your name change documents – if applicable

Your Social Security document – make sure it includes your current name.

Your residency document.
Note: residency document can be printed from the Internet.

Note: Documents must be originals or certified copies and unexpired, unless otherwise noted. DMV staff will verify all documents presented. Your documents will be processed and returned to you.

The checklist provides guidelines that may not cover every individual situation. The checklist covers the California Department of Motor Vehicles REAL ID requirements.

Using the REAL ID Checklist does not guarantee you are eligible to obtain a REAL ID card.

There are driver license and ID card fees associated with applying for a REAL ID card, also knowledge and/or vision tests may be required. DMV field offices accept payment by check, money order, cash, or ATM/Debit cards for payment of fees.

An individual can only receive one REAL ID card, either a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card, an individual cannot have both.

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