AAA tests program to allow California users to get Real ID

Jul 14, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated. It was originally published July 14, 2021.

Getting a Real ID just got a little bit easier for travelers living in California, as AAA begins a pilot program this month to allow members to skip the lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to a release announcing the partnership.

Starting later this month, AAA members can choose from 19 regional auto club locations throughout Southern California to ensure their driver’s license is Real ID-compliant by May 3, 2023, ABC7 reported.

The AAA-DMV pilot is the first of its kind and is specific to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

AAA, a federation of independent motor clubs, may roll out similar programs in the future.

“This is a pilot program between the CA DMV and the Auto Club and specific to Southern California,” Jeffrey Spring, a spokesperson for AAA California, said via email. “If a similar program begins in other states, it will be between the local AAA club and that state’s DMV.”

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In April, the Department of Homeland Security extended the Real ID deadline from Oct. 1, 2021, to address a DMV backlog due to pandemic-related closures and capacity limits. Congress passed the Real ID Act to provide for increased security after 9/11.

“Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel,” the DHS announced in a release.

Read more: The Real ID deadline is being pushed back (again) until 2023

As TPG previously reported, you will need a Real ID to fly unless you plan to travel with your passport domestically. All 50 states and Washington, D.C., are issuing Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically receive one, so we suggest taking a DHS quiz to see if yours is compliant.

AAA hopes the program will “streamline” the Real ID process and ultimately make it easier for applicants.

“The DMV continues to streamline its processes and incorporate technology to become more mobile and better serve its customers through more convenient service options,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a press statement. “We hope our partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California will prompt its members to get their REAL ID now and not wait until the last minute.”

“They suggested that we make it available to help make that a reality, and so that’s why we formed this partnership to extend our DMV services to REAL ID, and we’re very, very pleased and excited to be able to offer that,” Mike Johnson, the senior vice president of member services for AAA of Southern California, told ABC7.

Read more: Everything you need to know about getting a Real ID

AAA’s program does not allow you to bypass the DMV entirely, as members will still be required to make an appointment on the California DMV website. The cost varies by state, ranging from approximately $10 to $85 to get a compliant ID. In California, it’s $38 for both a Real ID or regular license.

Featured photo of a DMV in Bell Gardens, California, by Jessica Pons/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.