DMV to go to airports, county fairs to explain Real ID driver’s licenses

Ontario International Airport in Ontario, Calif., has put up signage to inform travelers about Real ID driver’s licenses.
(Ontario International Airport)

If you want to know the ins and outs of California’s Real ID driver’s licenses that will allow you to board a domestic airline flight starting next year, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is making the rounds at Ontario and L.A. airports as well as upcoming county fairs to explain what documents travelers will need to obtain the upgraded license.

DMV is setting up info booths in the post-screening area at Ontario International Airport (ONT) on Wednesdays and Fridays every other week through August. The agency’s staff won’t be accepting applications, but they will explain the new requirements and how to get a Real ID. The airport also has added signage about Real ID too.

Here’s the fix from the DMV for your Real ID driver’s license »

The agency also will appear at Los Angeles International Airport in a pre-security area in Terminal 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 20. Anyone can go to the terminal and ask questions.


Other DMV outreach includes info booths at county fairs in San Diego (May 31-July 4), Orange County (July 12-Aug. 11) and L.A. County (Aug. 30-Sept. 22).

Passengers boarding domestic flights will need upgraded licenses that conform to federal security rules set to go into effect Oct. 1, 2020. That means you’ll need the new license — which has a distinguishing bear and star in the upper right-hand corner — if you want to use your license as an ID to board flights. This is true for all states, not just California.

If you do not have Real ID, you can use another form of identification to get through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

The change was confusing even before the Department of Homeland Security changed its standards for proof of residence. California began issuing Real ID licenses in January 2018, but DHS said in the fall that it no longer considered California’s method of obtaining a second proof of residence as adequate. (The DMV is trying to fix this by sending out letters to affected residents.)


Those early licenses will work for airport security, but those who were asked for only one form of proof of residence will be asked to return a letter from the DMV, attesting to the validity of your address.

Know that renewing your driver’s license online won’t get you a Real ID license. You have to take certain documents to the DMV and appear in person. You can find the requirements here.


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