California Real ID:

Purpose, Benefits, And How to Acquire One

An identification card is needed to do a lot of transactions in the government and businesses. An individual should have at least two or more valid IDs if dealing with a financial institution. One of the examples of valid IDs that can be used is the Real ID.

What Is Real ID? Is It Mandatory?

Real ID is issued as compliance for the Real ID Act, which recommends that the federal government should “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” It establishes standards for minimum security for state-issued IDs and licenses. Because of this, the driver’s license from each state became more secure and trustworthy. This card is optional but offers a lot of benefits for the holder. It is not a national identification card and is not a replacement for a driver’s license.

Who Needs to Acquire This ID?

People who are required to get a Real ID are those who travel by airplane a lot or visit federal facilities often. Those who are not in this category doesn’t need to get the ID. The ID is needed for people who will need to board domestic flights or visit a federal facility or military bases. It is also needed in the purchase of firearms or ammunition, which will start October 1, 2020.

Benefits of Real ID

One of the best benefits of a Real ID is the ease for US citizens to cross the border because of the RFID chip inside the ID. The ID can also be used for an easier time in traveling in the Western Hemisphere including Canada and Mexico. Traveling with a Real ID is now easier than before.


Real ID is equipped with the RFID chip, which signals the system to pull up biographic and biometric data for the CBD or the Customs and Border Protection. It also has a Machine-Readable Zone if RFID is not available. Overall, because the ID is acquired in a rigorous process, it makes it easier for the holder to prove his or her identity.

Real ID Process

When applying, the individual needs to go to a DMV office or schedule an appointment. He or she can use the interactive checklist found on the site beforehand to know the requirements and needed documents for the application. The following are the documents that are needed in order to proceed for the application. Applicants are advised to bring any of the documents in these three sections.

1. Identity Document

– Unexpired US Passport or Passport Card

– Certified copy of birth certificate

– US certificate or consular report of birth abroad

– Unexpired foreign passport with US Visa and approved I-94 form

– Certificate of naturalization or citizenship

– Valid and unexpired permanent resident card

– EA Card, EAD Card with Notice of Action

– Permanent Resident Card

– Foreign Passport Processed for I-551

– Certificate of name change, if applicable

2. Proof of Social Security Number

– SS Card

– Paystub

– W-2 Form

– SSA-1099 Form

3. Proof of California Residency (Two different documents are required)

– Home Utility Bills

– Records from banks and financial institutions

– Insurance or Employment Documents

– Car or boat registration

– IRS or California FTB Tax Return

– Deed or title to the property

– School Documents and proof of payment of tuition.