Expect long lines at the California DMV – again. Beginning October 1, 2020, individuals will need a federally compliant ID in order to board a domestic flight. This can be a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, a passport or another federally compliant ID. Over the last few years, states have been scrambling to meet the new federal regulations for REAL ID licenses and ID cards.

California has been issuing REAL IDs for a while now, and it seemed like everything was under control – until a new federal notice meant that the state would have to change its procedures again.

DMV wait times spiked.

Over the summer, many people complained about long wait times at the DMV. According to the Sacramento Bee, average wait times increased by 46 percent. In Sacramento, average waits times were up even more, at 60 percent. People who had cleared their schedule to renew their licenses were furious.

The state responded with measures to address the issue, including more staffing. ABC 7 News reports that wait times had dropped by October.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

A new decision requires more paperwork.

To obtain a REAL ID compliant license, applicants must provide two proofs of residency. According to CBS Sacramento, California had been allowing people to provide only one proof of residency during the DMV appointment as long as they used mail return service to receive the ID, with receipt at the address provided acting as the second proof of residency. A similar procedure was being used in Wisconsin and had been approved.

However, in November, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that individuals would need to provide two proofs of residency when applying for a REAL ID compliant license. Mail return service would not be considered an acceptable form of proof.

California has already issued more than 2,300,00 licenses under the old procedure. However, starting in April, California will have to adopt the stricter practices.

Because this requires more paperwork, and because it could lead to some confusion, it may also lead to longer wait times again.

Bring the right documents.

If you are going to the DMV to get your REAL ID compliant license, make sure you bring two proofs of residency. According to the California DMV, acceptable proofs include:

  • Rental agreements with the landlord’s and tenant’s signatures
  • A deed, title or mortgage bill
  • Home utility bills
  • Medical documents
  • Insurance documents
  • Employee documents
  • IRS or California Franchise Tax Board tax return

For more information on what forms are acceptable, read what the California DMV has to say about proof of California residency.

Avoid hassles.

In order to get a REAL ID for the first time, you must visit a field office in person. You cannot do this online. In addition to proof of residency, you will need to provide your Social Security number and proof of identity. To make sure you have everything, use the REAL ID Interactive Checklist before you go.

If you are not applying for a REAL ID, you may be able to save yourself a headache by avoiding the DMV completely.

Did you know that you can get some DMV services at Pronto? Pronto is licensed and bonded with the California DMV. We offer the following services:

  • Annual vehicle registration renewals
  • Replace lost stickers and/or registration cards
  • Title transfers
  • Issue replacement vehicle titles
  • Release of liability
  • Registration suspensions lifted
  • Replacement of license plates

Find a convenient time and location, and learn more about Pronto’s DMV registration services.