Getting a CA ID quickly.
December 8, 2014 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I was stupid and put off getting a new ID (after a cross-country move, to the bay area in California) after my old one expired. I have a flight on the 18th. What do I do?

Where I'm from, you can get an ID on the spot, but apparently that's not the case in CA.

I'm planning to go the DMV early tomorrow (I have the necessary documents, etc, but no photo ID). The DMV website says it can take up to 60 days. Googling shows me it's often 10 days (which may not be quick enough for my case!), and I see some things about temporary ids for the interim.

So, questions:
1) Can I speed up the getting-the-ID process? Totally willing and able to pay extra.
2) Can I fly with this temporary ID? (Are they photo IDs?)

posted by wayland to Law & Government (21 answers total)
It might be quicker for you to try and get an emergency passport.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:32 PM on December 8, 2014

If I remember correctly, you can carry your old ID for the photo and the new ID for the ID part.
posted by elmay at 6:32 PM on December 8, 2014

I got my CA license in the mail about ten days after going to the DMV. I walked out of the DMV with a temporary ID, which, in combination with your expired out of state ID, should be fine. You will be allowed to keep your old ID.
posted by Sara C. at 6:37 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: > It might be quicker for you to try and get an emergency passport.

Looked into this, but it seems like I need proof of international travel, plus a photo ID. So.

> Just arrive very early and talk to an agent right away. They will ask you some identifying questions (former addresses, etc.) and send you on your way.

To be clear, you mean a TSA agent?

Thanks, ya'll!
posted by wayland at 6:40 PM on December 8, 2014

You don't need an ID to fly
posted by rhizome at 6:53 PM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

I was literally just looking up California DMV appointments. You can schedule one online, and I could have gotten one on the 16th in San Mateo or the 15th in Hayward. (I obviously don't know which offices are convenient to you, but you can look around.) They'll give you a paper thing (you'll get your photo ID in the mail). They paper thing and your expired ID will be fine to fly with. (You can technically fly with no photo ID at all, but as snickerdoodle notes, it will require some additional questions.)
posted by purpleclover at 6:54 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Before TSA walk up to the ticket counter of the airline you bought a ticket from and explain the situation. Say you're sorry. They'll give you a special ticket that says "this idiot doesn't have an id." The TSA agents will give you and your bag a thorough inspection. Get there at least 1.5 hours early. And that's about it. (In my experience)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2014

FYI: the CA DMV can be horrible, but their appointment system is a whiz. You can be in and out in ten minutes if you have an appointment, so scour their system and all the DMVs even remotely near you to get an appointment.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:00 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I renewed my CA driver's license online back in September and it was about a month until I got the new one. So I would mentally prepare yourself to have to go to the airport with the expired + temporary ID and maybe leave enough time to go through the extra security in case they treat it as if you were flying with no ID.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 7:21 PM on December 8, 2014

I flew with a recently-expired out-of-state driver's license a few months ago. I was kind of apologetic to the TSA person who checked my ID (and I had some additional stuff with me just in case - e.g. student ID with picture), and they suggested that my driver's license might be good for something like a year after expiration. Maybe contact TSA to ask?
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 8:11 PM on December 8, 2014

I flew with my temporary CO license (a piece of paper) and my expired Florida ID (with VOID punched into it) last year with zero problems on either end of my trip.
posted by ThatSomething at 8:25 PM on December 8, 2014

The temporary ID is a photo ID. I don't know if there will be issues flying with it. They do give you back your expired ID, but they punch a hole in it so you can't use it as an actual driver's license.

Use the online appointment system for the DMV to cut down on your wait time. It doesn't take that long to get the ID in the mail, but no, I doubt you will get it by the 18th.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:37 PM on December 8, 2014

You seriously might be able to get a passport before you get your California ID. California is broke and can take a month to several months to send you an ID. I waited two months last time. As for flying, it depends on how much of a dick the TSA agents you get want to be to you. If I were you, I'd try to do both and see which comes in first.

Also, I had zero international travel and got a passport in CA. Not a requirement.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:56 PM on December 8, 2014

Honestly I traveled on an expired drivers license for about a year without getting any crap I always had my passport just in case. That being said you're fine just get there early act normal and just say "Oh I didn't notice" if they mention.

And previously
posted by bitdamaged at 10:18 PM on December 8, 2014

The CA DMV is really hit or miss. I mailed my license renewal and my vehicle registration renewal on the same day, and got my new license less than a week later. The car stickers, however, never showed up despite the fact they cashed my check, and I had to call and spend an hour and a half on hold to get to a person. Supposedly I'll get the replacement stickers this week.

So if you get an appointment tomorrow or just show up and be prepared to wait, you may very well get it in the mail in time. Otherwise use the temporary id, which is a piece of paper, not a photo ID, along with your old id (as others have already suggested). You'll be fine.
posted by JenMarie at 12:12 AM on December 9, 2014

I am in the exact same boat as you. My out-of-state ID is over a year expired. Last time I flew, the TSA agent held me aside, and called a supervisor. The supervisor sighed and asked me if I had a medical insurance card. I did, and showed it to him, he ducked away for about 45 seconds, came back, and said "if anyone else bugs you, just show them your medical insurance card along with the photo ID, and also for crying out loud get a current one."

The whole process took about five minutes and was the worst thing that happened. Most other TSA agents just kinda shrugged. I, too, was attempting to get a new one before flying this month but it didn't happen because I'm a ridiculous slacker. Good luck and safe travels to you! I just checked out emergency passports and the fees are wild n' crazy.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:48 AM on December 9, 2014

When this happened to me, the TSA agents told me it was fine as long as the ID expired less than a year ago. (This was three or four years ago, so YMMV, but you're probably fine.)
posted by sleepingcbw at 4:02 AM on December 9, 2014

I would just take what you have and explain nicely to the TSA. Plan to get to the airport early just in case, but you might not even need it. I flew with a friend recently who lost his ID while on vacation, and we got to the airport super early, thought there would be lots of extra searches, etc. They asked for whatever ID he had (in his case, a credit card that had his photo and a health insurance card), and then waved us through with no pat down or extra searches. Sadly, this will probably depend on how white you are. But, it CAN be done with little extra fuss, and even if they do take some extra precautions, you should still be able to do it with some extra time.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2014

On getting a CA ID as quickly as possible: check appointment times at all DMVs that it's reasonable for you to get to. If none of them are very very soon, your best bet is to choose a small, remote(-ish) DMV, show up early in the morning dressed well, and wait. I've had success with small Southern California DMVs in strip malls. You'll get a temporary paper ID, which as many have said, will be sufficient to get you through security if you also have your expired photo ID. There's still a chance that if you get it done ASAP, you could receive the real ID before you leave. But only a chance.

If you don't get a real ID before the 18th, get to the airport early enough to get through the hassle. Do you have any credit/debit cards with your photo on them? That could help, but you might still be stuck in security for longer than usual.
posted by WasabiFlux at 6:39 PM on December 9, 2014

I found myself in the same boat when I had let my driver's license lapse (we have no car) and I suddenly discovered my passport had expired, and I had a flight in a week. I walked into the DMV (no appointments available at the two nearest me for weeks), got my photo taken, and my new driver's license was mailed to me in four business days.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:51 PM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: Follow-up: I went to the DMV asap (without an appointment, because the next one was sometime in February) and got a temporary ID (I had to specially ask for it, + provide a flight itinerary). The ID happened to come the day before my flight.

Thanks, ya'll!
posted by wayland at 5:51 PM on December 29, 2014

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