BALTIMORE — Do you have a star on your driver’s license? If not, it’s time to get REAL.
Maryland residents who want to board an airplane will soon need a star on their driver’s license, indicating that it is a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or they will need another form of approved identification to board their flight or enter a secure federal facility. Maryland’s REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards have a star in a circle in the upper right corner to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.
The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting October 1, 2020 and the one-year countdown is on!
Maryland residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant license or stick with a standard driver’s license when they get a new license at a Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) branch office. Customers are encouraged to make an appointment on the MDOT MVA website, and after collecting documentation visit a local branch to become REAL ID compliant. Keep in mind that a standard driver’s license—without the star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices starting October 2020.
To get the REAL ID-compliant license, individuals will need to appear at their local MDOT MVA in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and Maryland residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of Maryland residency, one proof of your social security number (if you’ve been issued one) and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state. A list of most commonly used documents is posted online.
Even if individuals have the newly-designed driver’s license or identification card, they may need to submit additional documents in order to be REAL ID compliant – visit Maryland’s Real ID Lookup Tool to determine Real ID status.
Customers are encouraged to make an appointment on the MDOT MVA website and after collecting documentation, visit a local branch to become REAL ID compliant.
Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID-compliant license or another form of acceptable ID after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005), which mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.
TSA has posted new signs at airports nationwide to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly. TSA officers will be providing verbal advisements to passengers to remind them about REAL ID.
For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card in Maryland visit the MDOT MVA web site, where there is a Maryland REAL ID Toolkit to help guide residents through the process. The state also has a document guide, video tutorials and a link to making an appointment on its web site here. For more information, Maryland residents can call 410-768-7000 or send an email to MVACS@mdot.state.md.us.
TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.