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What You Need to Know About Getting Your REAL ID

Hmm, a REAL ID? You might be thinking, “I already have a real ID!” And that may be true, kind of… While you might have an authentic form of identification, a REAL ID is different—and new for many! 

Hold on, we promise it’s not as confusing as it sounds! Let us explain. Here’s what you need to know about getting your REAL ID: the when, why, and how, made simple.

When You Need It

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the REAL ID enforcement deadline has been pushed back, once again. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now extended the date to May 3, 2023

Although this seemingly gives people “plenty of time” to get their ducks in a line, dates like this always sneak up on people, and it’s better to be prepared than to be scrambling at the last minute. 

LifeHound is here to help!

Why You Need It

In simple terms, for your safety! And for the safety of the United States people. 

Although the U.S. government had a variety of security measures in place prior to the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, this event scaled their security efforts tenfold.

In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act. This act places stricter rules and restrictions on the type of identification people can use, as to prevent the use of counterfeit driver’s licenses and IDs. The REAL ID that will be mandated in 2023, will be necessary to board United States flights and to enter federal facilities, including federal courthouses, nuclear plants, military bases, and additional federal facilities.

Identification cards that are REAL ID-compliant are marked with a gold star near the top of the ID card. REAL IDs that are administered in California are additionally marked with a gold bear. For state-specific information on how to obtain your REAL ID, visit the DHS’s REAL ID website.

Your REAL ID Checklist

In order to apply for and receive your REAL ID, there is preparation to be done. If you’re using LifeHound, however, the process will be a breeze as all of your important life documents are already organized!

Before you get your REAL ID, know that you should anticipate a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

What You Need to Know About Getting Your REAL ID

But don’t worry! It’ll be quick and easy if you have your documents ready. Below is a list of what you’ll need.

Proof of Identity

Of course, to get your REAL ID, you need to prove your identity! Here are some examples below, according to the California DMV, of what this might look like

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • Original or Certified copy of U.S birth certificate
  • U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of U.S. Citizen
  • Unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. Visa and approved I-94 form
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card”

Note: This is not a comprehensive list. Please visit your state’s DMV site for a complete list of approved proof of identity documents.

Proof of Social Security Number

If eligible, you must present one original document displaying your name and entire social security number. If you are not eligible for a social security number, not to worry! You can still apply for a REAL ID. Visit your state’s DMV site for more comprehensive information. According to the California DMV, however, here are some documents that will pass as proof of your SSN:

  • Social security card
  • W-2 form
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) 1099 form
  • Non-SSA-1099 form
  • Paystub with full SSN

Proof of Residency

In California specifically, you must present two printed documents that prove your state residency. These documents must include your first and last name and the mailing address must match that on your driver’s license or ID application. Some examples that might prove residency include:

  • A rental or lease agreement
  • Deed or title to residential real property
  • Mortgage bill
  • Home utility bill
  • Medical documents
  • Faith-based document

Visit your state’s DMV site for a complete list of necessary documents. 

For those who do not have proof of residency, please visit your state’s DMV for more information.

Not to Worry!

To many, sifting through their life’s important documents to apply for a REAL ID sounds like a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be! At LifeHound, we recommend you take advantage of the REAL ID deadline extension. 

If you begin your free trial of LifeHound today, you truly will have plenty of time to get your application and important documents sorted. LifeHound makes it easy. 

What are you waiting for? Download the app and sign up today!