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Prepare for the REAL ID requirements: check your utility bill

Prepare for the REAL ID requirements: check your utility bill

By October 1, 2020 all California residents will be required by the Department of Homeland Security to show a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card in order to board a domestic flight or enter military bases and most federal facilities.

The REAL ID process requires you to provide original or certified copies of documents verifying your true full name (first, middle and last), date of birth, Social Security number and California residence.

The California DMV website has a checklist of sample documents to help you prepare for your visit to get your REAL ID card, which you can view at

For example, you can fulfill the first two requirements with a valid passport or birth certificate and your Social Security card or W-2 form.

Beginning in April, the final requirement asks you to present two printed documents that verify your California residency. These documents must list your full first and last name as well as the residence address. (Middle name is optional but not required.) Documents bearing only a first initial or addressed to a P.O. Box are not acceptable.

One easy way to provide this proof of residency is by using your home utility bill, such as your Lakewood water or trash bill. Be sure to verify that it does contain your full first and last name and residence address before you plan to visit the DMV. (The utility bill does not need to include your middle name or initial, although it can if you wish.)

If your bill shows just your first initial and last name, you can easily request the update to your full first name by phone. Other changes, such as a new married name or adding or deleting a name, will require additional information. Name changes cannot be made online.

For more information or to request a name update, please call Lakewood City Hall at 562-866-9771 or Fathom at 1-855-785-4021.