DMV offices in California expect a rush as people begin applying for the new REAL ID cards in January. 

"So if you don't have a REAL driver's license or ID card by 2020, you won't be able to get on an airplane," explains DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez 

Gonzalez says the agency is hiring hundreds of new employees to handle the rush. Frequent travelers will clog the lines at the DMV and Gonzalez says making an appointment is crucial. But if you don't travel much or go to federal buildings or military bases, you can save yourself the headache.

"REAL ID is not mandatory," says Gonzalez. " You can continue to renew your driver's license by mail or online." 

If you end up without the REAL ID after the 2020 deadline, you can still get on a flight. You'll just need a passport or another TSA-approved form of identification.

To find out how the REAL ID Act impacts California, click here.

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