New year, new laws: REAL ID to be enforced in California and other new regulations for 2020

(San Diego Union-Tribune Community Press File Photo)

With 2020 at the starting gate, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is reminding Californians of the upcoming federal enforcement date for REAL ID.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases.

“We urge Californians to apply for their REAL ID at the time of their renewal or their earliest convenience — so they are fully prepared by Oct. 1, 2020,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said.

To apply for a REAL ID, Californians must visit a DMV office and bring the following documents:

One proof of identity — original or certified (examples: valid passport, birth certificate)

Legal name change document(s) if name on proof of identity is different from the name on the other documents

One proof of Social Security number

Two proofs of California residency — paper copies (examples: utility bill, bank statement)

Visit for a complete list of acceptable documents and a helpful quiz to determine if you need a REAL ID.

Customers are strongly encouraged to fill out the online application before their office visit at

New California Laws

Several new state laws or changes to existing law took effect Jan. 1, 2020.

1) Ban on Selling DMV Appointments (AB 317, Diep): Makes it unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, an appointment with the DMV.

2) Clean Air Vehicle Decals for Low-Income Californians (SB 957, Lara — 2018): Allows certain used vehicles that were previously issued a green or white clean air vehicle decal to receive another clean air vehicle decal, granting access to high occupancy vehicle lanes until January 1, 2024. To qualify, the vehicle must have a new owner whose income is 80 percent or less than the statewide medium income.

3) Repeal of Driver License Actions Based on Non-Driving Offenses (SB 485, Beall): Eliminates courts’ authority to suspend, revoke, restrict or order the DMV to delay the driving privilege of a person convicted of prostitution, vandalism or other non-driving offenses.

4) Extension of Pilot Program for Registration Alternatives (AB 1614, Gipson): Extends the pilot program evaluating the use of alternatives to license plates and registration cards until January 1, 2021.

5) Driver License Extension for Members of U.S. Foreign Service and Spouse (SB 267, Wieckowski): Extends the validity of a driver license for a person in the United States Foreign Service or their spouse for the period of their service and up to 30 days following their return to California.

6) Operation of Motorized Scooters (AB 1810, Committee on Transportation): Removes motorized scooters from the list of vehicles requiring a Class M2 driver license or permit, thus allowing a person with a valid driver license or permit of any class to operate a motorized scooter.

7) Rules for Passing Waste Service Vehicles (AB 2115, Santiago — 2018): Requires a driver approaching or passing a stopped waste service vehicle to make a lane change into an available lane adjacent to the waste service vehicle and pass at a safe distance, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, except as specified.

8) New Color for Clean Air Vehicle Decals (AB 544, Bloom — 2017): As previously announced, AB 544 created a new program to grant low-emission vehicles and transitional zero-emission vehicles access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for an approximate four-year period, regardless of the vehicle occupancy level. The DMV will issue orange decals in 2020 that grant access to HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2024.


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