Due to security reasons, Driver Licenses all over the USA are changing starting 22 of January, 2018. This new licences are called “Real ID”. So if you encounter long lines these days in one of the DMV Offices, most probably this is because of massive REAL ID applications. Don’t go to DMV without reading California Real ID checklist. It is very important.




What must you do to get Real ID? You can start by checking the requirements.

California Real ID Checklist

1. Prove Your Identity

Here are some methods to prove your identity. You must have any of them below

California Real ID checklist

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
  • Certified copy of U.S birth certificate (issued by a city, county, or state vital statistics office).
  • U.S. certificate of birth abroad or consular report of birth abroad of U.S. Citizen.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. Visa and approved I-94 form.
  • Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
  • Certificate of naturalization or certificate of U.S. citizenship.
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card.
  • Valid/unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) Card (I-766) or valid/expired EAD Card with Notice of Action (I-797 C).

Why Real ID?

Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require your driver license or identification (ID) card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board an airplane or enter military bases and most federal facilities.
California Real ID Checklist

2. You have bring a document that show your social security number




  • Social security card.
  • W-2 form with full SSN.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) 1099 form.
  • Non-SSA-1099 form.
  • Pay stub with full SSN.

3. Proof that you live in California.

Bring at least TWO of the documents with you.  I recommend to bring two utility bills.




  • Rental or lease agreement
  • Deed or title to residential real property.
  • Mortgage bill.
  • Home utility bills
  • School documents
  • Medical documents.
  • Employment documents.
  • Insurance documents
  • Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return.
  • Change of Address Confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Property tax bill or statement.
  • Records from a financial institution
  • Proof of payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher education in California.
  • An original copy of an approved Claim for Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption  form
  • Court documents that list the applicant as a resident of California.
  • A document issued a U.S. government agency
  • California certificate of Vehicle or Vessel Title or registration.
  • A DMV No Fee Identification Card Eligibility Verification (DL 933) form

If you complete California Real ID Checklist, it is time to see the differences between current driver license and Real ID.

Features of the new license include:

California Real ID checklist

Photo: California DMV




  • A golden bear with a white star in the upper right– all REAL ID licenses must have this white star to show they are compliant.
  • A pale, color image of a forty-niner miner with fruit orchards and mountains on the right side.
  • Golden poppies (California state flower) in the lower left under the photo and sailboats to the right of that.
  • A large image of the state of California running through the middle background.
  • A new font for California header at top.
  • You can see Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower under UV light.
  • Below is an image of the current, but soon to be dated California Driver license.

DMV License Renewal

California Real ID checklist

“Current DMV License” Photo: California DMV




California DMV License Renewal is an important change.  There is no need to rush into a DMV field office. You can use a valid California driver license or ID card to board a commercial flight or enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.


Here is DMV’s Official Statement:

Beginning  October 1, 2020, the federal government will require your driver license or identification (ID) card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board an airplane or enter military bases and most federal facilities.

The California DMV will provide a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card as an option to customers beginning January 22, 2018.

If you have a U.S. Passport, passport card, military ID, or another form of Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) approved identification, these documents will still be accepted to board an airplane.  Federally compliant identification will also be required to access military bases and most federal facilities.

The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed in response to the events of 9/11.  For more on the REAL ID Act, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.

Source: DMV