SACRAMENTO, Calif — This Why Guy query comes to us from David Finley via Facebook: "Walt, Why are we having to redo our driver's license?"

Oh, this one is easy, but also kind of confusing. To put it simply, David, it's to get yourself a REAL ID. You'll need that by October of next year if you plan on flying commercially. Though, you don't need a REAL ID to fly if you have a valid passport, passport card or Military ID.

DMV spokesperson Marty Greenstein said that if you want to grab one of those new REAL IDs, "you do need to visit a field office and provide specific documents, but remember that the REAL ID is optional."


So, if you do have a passport or military ID, then you do not need a REAL ID. The confusion has been that many people think they have to have a REAL ID to fly. You can still keep your old driver license, you just can't get on a flight with it.

Greenstein added that if you renew that way you will "receive a card with 'Federal Limits Apply' in the upper right hand corner, and that card won't be accepted to board domestic flights after October 1, 2020."  

If you want to renew your old school driver license, you can do it online or come down to a DMV branch. Get an appointment If you can. If you want a REAL ID, you MUST come to a DMV branch and you really should make an appointment to avoid those long waits.

If you have any Why Guy questions, you can reach Walt Gray on his Facebook page.

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