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    Now Is the Time to Get a Real ID

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    The number of Real IDs issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles is lagging behind projected demand. If you anticipate needing one, I advise you go to the DMV now because I expect the lines to worsen as we get closer to the summer months.

    Beginning October 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is requiring individuals to have a Real ID to board a domestic flight without a passport, or to enter a federal facility, such as a military base. It’s an added public safety measure to deter terrorism.

    So far, only 7 million out of an estimated 16 million Californians have gotten their Real ID. That means DMV will have to process more than a million applications every month to issue the new identification cards in time.

    While the Budget oversight hearings I’ve led held DMV accountable for various missteps and resulted in reduced wait times, I worry that even with the additional state resources and accountability, field offices will still be put to the test. Those long lines we successfully shortened could reappear because the only way to get a Real ID is to visit a local DMV office.

    At its peak in 2018, people were waiting hours—sometimes all day—to do anything at the DMV. And at the time, the demand for Real IDs was just beginning. Since then, more employees have been hired, technology has improved, processes have been streamlined, and several locations have expanded hours, such as opening at 7 am or on Saturdays.

    Today, those efforts have paid off. Many field offices have shorter wait times in the afternoons, under an hour in most cases, making it easier to walk in without an appointment. Yes, walk in without an appointment. Please take advantage of this slower period and get your Real ID today.

    You can ensure your visit to the DMV goes smoothly by bringing the right documents with you. You will need:

    • an identity document, such as a valid passport or original birth certificate;
    • a social security card or W-2 form;
    • two proofs of residency, such as a utility or cell phone bill, bank statement, or mortgage bill.

    To save time, you can even start your Real ID application online and check the real time wait times for each office on the DMV website ( ).

    I cannot predict how long these shorter wait times will last, but know a deluge of late applications is expected as October nears. I will continue to monitor the situation and am ready to step in again, if necessary.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City.

    Published on February 27, 2020