Lawmakers Seek Deadline Extension As Millions Still Lack Real ID

Carrie Hodousek
February 19, 2020 - 4:57 pm

California Department of Motor Vehicles

California lawmakers have requested that the deadline to acquire a Real ID be extended for another three years because only a small number of residents are on track to get the new document before it becomes required for air travel. 

Federal law requires air travelers present a state-issued Real ID (or passport) for domestic flights beginning October 1. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has said there are still 16 million state residents who have not updated their license or identity cards.

That’s partially why Assemblyman Jim Frazier of Fairfield wants to delay the start of the program.

“We have 180 DMV offices in California, and if the number of 16 million additional people who don’t have Real ID have to get it by October, we’re talking about something I firmly believe is unattainable,” Frazier said.

Customers at DMV offices have at times endured long lines and found it difficult to schedule appointments as the department struggled to keep up with demand for the new form of identification. DMV officials claimed in December to have cut the wait times in half. 

Frazier said meeting the deadline just isn’t feasible. The American Travel Association estimated that enough passengers would be turned away, to cause $300 million of travel-related losses in the first week after the deadline passes. 

“We’re talking about possible impacts that are just not acceptable,” Frazier said.

In order to pick up the pace, the DMV encourages people to complete applications onlne before bringing paperwork and documents to an office. 

Transportation officials said the idea of a Real ID is to make identity documents more secure.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated how residents can apply for a Real ID. The new form of identification is not available through AAA. The applications are handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles and must be completed with a visit to a DMV office.