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Frequently Asked Questions – Two (2) Proofs of Residency Required


Frequently Asked Questions

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Two (2) Proofs of Residency Required

Californians who obtained a federal compliant REAL ID driver license (DL) or identification (ID) card by providing only one proof of California residency when they applied can expect to receive a letter from the DMV explaining how to satisfy the second proof of residency requirement. The DMV began mailing letters in late May 2019.

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. Taking this action will satisfy the second residency requirement. NOTE: Cardholders who have moved to a new address since applying for a REAL ID DL/ID, may need to provide two proofs of California residency for their new address.

If a customer’s REAL ID DL/ID card does not expire before the REAL ID enforcement date of October 1, 2020, the federal government should accept it to fly within the United States and enter secure federal facilities and military bases. 

However, for individuals whose REAL ID driver license or identification card expires before October 1, 2020, the cardholder will need to provide the DMV with a second residency document at the time of their renewal. 

Which documents do customers need to bring when applying for REAL ID card?  (Full list)

Customers will need:

  • One Identity document, such as a certified US birth certificate or passport
  • One Social Security number document, such as an original Social Security Card or a W-2 that shows the complete SSN.
  • Two different proofs of Residency – street address, such as a home utility or cell phone bill, vehicle registration card, mortgage or lease agreement, bank account or property tax bill.

NOTE: Residency documents must show the applicant’s name and list the SAME address that will appear on the federal compliant REAL ID driver license or identification card. 

Why did the residency requirement change? 

The Department of Homeland Security decided to change the previously approved method by which the DMV collects two proofs of residency. *For a description of DMV’s process, see next question. 

*Why didn’t you do this two-form process to begin with?

In an attempt to create the least amount of burden to customers, the DMV followed the process, which the Department of Homeland Security approved for the state of Wisconsin and subsequently for California.

Unfortunately, several months into the DMV’s implementation, the federal government changed its direction for California. The federal government has indicated that Wisconsin will need to change its process as well.

When did the DMV begin requiring applicants to provide two different proofs of California residency?  

The DMV began requiring applicants to provide two different proofs of California residency on April 29, 2019. 

If I have a REAL ID card already, what do I need to do?

If you only provided one proof of residency when you applied for a REAL ID driver license or identification card, you will still need to provide a second residency document, but not immediately. Keep an eye out for a letter from the DMV that will explain how to satisfy the second residency requirement. If you’re renewing your REAL ID in a field office, you should be prepared to provide your second proof of residency at that time.

What if I provided the DMV with my two residency documents prior to April 2019?

The DMV began accepting two residency documents from Californians who applied for a REAL ID beginning in January 2019. If you provided the two residency documents with your application, no further action is needed.

If I have not already applied for a REAL ID, when should I apply? 

Apply for your REAL ID at your normal time of renewal or at any point you desire prior to the October 1, 2020 federal enforcement date if your driver license expires prior to that. Be sure to bring all the required documents, including two proofs of California residency.

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