DMV drops Social Security Number proof requirement to get REAL ID

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that residents applying for a REAL ID can now provide their Social Security Number without needing documented proof that they have one.

In response to security concerns following the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks, the REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 and established a minimum set of standards for state driver’s licenses and ID cards.

The law also prevents federal agencies from accepting identification cards that don’t meet those standards, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Beginning in 2023, the DHS will require a federally-approved document, like a valid passport or a REAL ID, to board flights within the U.S. and enter military bases or other secured federal buildings, according to the DMV’s release.

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, applicants for a REAL ID had to provide a Social Security Card or W-2 to prove they have a Social Security Number.

DMV officials say now only the number is needed.

“Getting a REAL ID in California just got a little easier,” said California DMV Director Steve Gordon. “We continue to streamline the REAL ID process so that customers can upload required documents, avoid long lines and get a REAL ID well in advance of the federal enforcement date.”

To get a REAL ID, Californians will still need a valid Social Security number, proof of identity and two proofs of California residency. More information about which documents meet those requirements can be found by clicking and tapping here.

Californians can apply for a REAL ID by filling out the online application and uploading their documents before bringing their confirmation code and their documents to a DMV office.

No appointment is necessary and DMV officials say the process takes less than 10 minutes once at a service window.

DMV officials say customers are required to wear face coverings and maintain physical distance during their visit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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