California Department of Motor Vehicles

California's Real ID Fails To Meet Federal Guidelines, Homeland Security Warns

Tim Ryan
April 10, 2019 - 10:26 am

One trip to the DMV is bad enough, but now, more than three million Californians who've been issued a Real ID may need to take further action to make sure that their cards are acceptable. 

The Department of Homeland Security has sent Governor Gavin Newsom a letter saying that the California DMV failed to follow federal guidelines when it came to asking applicants for proof of residency, according to the Sacramento Bee

Starting October 1st, 2020, travelers will need a Real ID or passport to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities. 


To obtain a Real ID, applicants must submit a birth certificate or passport and their Social Security card or some other proof of their Social Security number, such as a recent stub from a paycheck. The application also requires two documents proving residency. 

This last requirement is where Homeland Security officials said that the Department of Motor Vehicles blundered. It seems the DMV did not require adequate verification of residency from Californians who applied for the card, and now, those who got one will need to submit more information in order to make things right. 

The DMV plans to inform people by mail that their card's validity is in question. The letters will include instructions about how to meet the requirements.  

The good new is that the fix can reportedly be done online or through the mail, although there is the option of doing it in person at a DMV office.