California is not on the list of states currently compliant with the REAL ID Act.
In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act following the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal government provide standards for all state identification cards to increase national security.
The Act came into effect in 2007 but didn't require states to be in compliance with the new standards until 2017.
New state ID cards will be issued under much stricter rules than before to prevent anyone without one from boarding a plane or entering a high-risk security area.
Although the idea behind the Act is to beef up national safety, the process of recreating and re-issuing new ID cards falls solely on the states and is costly.
Participation by states is voluntary, but Federal agencies aren't allowed to accept non-compliant state-issued ID cards after deadline dates for official purposes, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
To help offset the pressure of a costly change, DHS is granting extensions to states working towards becoming compliant with the REAL ID standards.
Currently, there are 24 states and territories that are compliant with the act. There are 18 states and territories that have been granted an extension through October 10, 2017.
There are also four that hold limited extension through June 6, 2017, including California.
So, if REAL IDs aren't state mandatory, why would it affect California?
By 2020, all air travelers will be required to show a REAL ID before boarding a plane for domestic flights.
This means, if the Golden State still isn't on the compliant list, California residents may run into some bumps while traveling if unprepared.
Passengers can still present other acceptable forms of identification including a U.S. passport.
But U.S. passports are also awaiting some major security changes.
Passport renewal applications are expected to surge over the next few years.
In 2007, a law enacted by the 9/11 Commission made passports necessary for all travel to and from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. This caused a major increase in American passport applications that year and now, those passports are set to soon expire.
Passports take about four to six weeks to process. With a surge in applications, the wait time could be much longer.
The good news is, in California, air travelers have until October 1, 2020 to renew their U.S. passport if they don't obtain a REAL ID by the deadline for boarding planes.
This is more time than non-compliant states such as Kentucky and Maine, who have until January 22, 2018 until their state IDs are no longer accepted by TSA.
Although the date may seem a while away, January 22, 2018 could be very close to when millions of American passports are expiring given the 2007 law.
If a resident from a REAL ID non-compliant state also has a passport expiring within the next year and waits until last minute to submit a renewal, they will likely face the longer wait because the surge in applications expected around the same time.
Since they will also no longer be allowed to travel domestically with their state ID, if in addition their passport is expired and looking at a long renewal date, it could make for a frustrating time when making plans to travel.
Californians have a little bit of extra time to avoid these headaches. It's important to note, California's extension date for REAL IDs only holds until June 6, 2017 and residents could be limited in access to other federal agencies outside of air travel.
How does it cost to renew an American passport?
A first-time adult passport book will set you back $135 while a adult renewal passport costs $110. For a person 16 or younger, a passport currently costs $105.
If you're in a hurry, an expedited passport costs an extra $60 to arrive in two to three weeks.
The current U.S. passport costs have dramatically spiked since the late 1980's.
In 1989, a passport renewal cost $35 if mailed and had been expired within 12 years of a renewal date. A new passport, or renewal for a passport more than 12 years expired cost $42. A child's passport cost $27 that same year.
Expect changes in your new passport.
Similar to new state IDs, U.S. passports are undergoing changes to provide more security. Passports will have data chips that scan data into a computer and will also be lighter, with less changes.