How to Get a REAL ID Driver License Or Identification Card

real id driver license or identification card

How to Get a REAL ID Driver License Or Identification Card

The REAL ID Act of 2005 established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and ID cards issued to individuals. Effective May 7, 2025, those wanting to board domestic commercial flights or access certain federal facilities will require a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card from one of 16 fully operating DMV offices located throughout each borough; each DMV office is fully equipped to handle REAL ID requests; fees range up to $65.

Why does obtaining REAL IDs present difficulties to migrants?

In contrast to standard and enhanced drivers’ licenses and ID cards that are available to everyone regardless of immigration status, REAL IDs require more stringent documentation requirements and come equipped with an embossed star for verification purposes. All non-U.S. citizens must present original immigration documentation when visiting the DMV for any services related to their license or identification card application process.

As part of their application for a REAL ID card, all applicants must present valid government issued photo documents showing proof of current legal name – such as an original or certified copy of birth certificate filed with vital records, marriage certificate with raised/embossed seal or court order showing name change. Unfortunately, DMV will not accept passport or foreign visa as proof of identity for REAL ID cards.

The Department of Motor Vehicles advises those seeking a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card to start the application process early. For assistance on what documents to bring, they can refer to their REAL ID interactive checklist or schedule an appointment at one of 30 facilities across California.