The largest expert travel community:
  • 769,744 Total members
  • 10,677 Users online now
  • 1,722,705 Threads
  • 31,592,591 Posts

FYI, You Can Submit Your Real ID Documents Online

FYI, You Can Submit Your Real ID Documents Online

As the deadline for Real ID quickly approaches, the consensus seems to be that very few people–only 1/3 of Americans–are ready to make the transition this October.

Many people who have one, have decided to just use their passport at least until the Real ID rush dies down (here are a few other documents that will work as substitutes). Those who have tried and failed to get their Real ID and first waited in extra-long lines at the DMV only to find out that they didn’t have all of the extra required documents after all and were summarily sent home.

Whether you’re dreading going back to the DMV again, or haven’t been at all, you should know that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now allowing people to submit their documentation electronically beforehand.

You’ll still have to go to the DMV to complete the process (and bring the physical documents so that they can be compared to your electronic submissions), but submitting your documents online first will save you time.

To find out what kind of documents you need, you’ll have to check and see what your state’s motor vehicle department requires. As an example, here’s what California requires:

  • A valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • An original or certified U.S. birth certificate
  • A valid, unexpired permanent resident card
  • A Social Security card, W-2 form or pay stub with your Social Security number
  • Proof of address (utility or mortgage bill, deed or title to a residential property, insurance documents, your rental or lease agreement)
View Comments (5)


  1. sdsearch

    March 9, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    California does NOT require ALL of these things. If you have a valid unexpired US Passport, you do NOT need a US birth certificate (you may not even have one, if you were born overseas but then naturalized!), and you do NOT need a permanent resident card (citizens won’t have a permanent resident card). So presenting this list as 5 bullet points, as if all are needed, makes no sense at all.

  2. clarkef

    March 9, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    This list is misleading. It implies that all five are required. That’s impossible as you cannot simultaneously possess a valid US passport and valid permanent resident card.

    Ca requires

    Identification documents such as a valid US passport
    Proof of Social Security such as an original W-2
    Proof of address such as a utility bill

    You can create a semi-personalized list of required documents on the website listed in the article.

  3. eric_o

    March 10, 2020 at 6:32 am

    @clarkef many of the articles on FT are misleading.

  4. JAGorham

    March 10, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Virginia’s is similar. Go online and check what documents you are going to bring that fit the respective categories. Print out a document. Then go to the DMV for the final part.

    Of course, I tried that last week – twice. First time the system crashed statewide after waiting for two hours; second time took about an hour and a half to get to the person to look over your documents and take care of things.

  5. jesup

    March 11, 2020 at 6:25 am

    PA is similar – however, be careful. Names must match or you need documentation of name changes (court documents).

    A marriage license can work (if from the county/state/etc), but the names on it must match the birth certificate and the proof of ID. If you were Martha Ann Sally XXXX and your marriage license says Martha Ann XXXX married YYYY, that might be ok – if your SS card says either Martha Ann XXXX or Martha XXXX YYYY — but not if you’ve always gone by Ann XXXX and now go by Ann XXXX YYYY with SS cards and drivers licenses that have that. Lots of people dropped first names they disliked (or changed Anne to Ann, or changed Elizabeth to Beth), and now have all sorts of ID that doesn’t match their birth certificates. My father-in-law was born Martin Joseph, but his mother didn’t like people calling him Marty, so he’s always been Joseph Martin on virtually all documents (including marriage license) — but the SSA has him as Martin Joseph still, and his birth certificate likewise.

    The solution, per the clerk at the driver’s license center, was to renew (or get) a passport, which is easier especially if you have an expired passport. It still may be painful, but less than getting a court-order for a name change. The passport will work as a RealID, and with pain it will allow getting a RealID driver’s license.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


More in News

A Sneezing Passenger Diverts a United Flight

Taylor RainsMarch 11, 2020
How to Contact British Airways

You’re Not the Only One Who Can’t Get Through to British Airways

Taylor RainsMarch 10, 2020
LAX taxis welcome back

Taxis Are Welcome Back to LAX (for Now)

Kaelin DodgeMarch 10, 2020

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.


I want emails from FlyerTalk with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails