REAL ID is the program through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designed to ensure the identities of anyone boarding a flight and going into Federal government buildings and other secure Federal facilities.
There is no hurry to obtain a REAL ID. Your current, unexpired SC driver’s license will still enable you to do all the above until September 20, 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, you will need either a REAL ID or a valid US Passport or Military ID.
If you do not plan to fly anywhere or visit a federal government facility, you do not need a REAL ID. Also, if you want to use your valid US Passport or Military ID for these, you do not need a REAL ID. Children do not need a REAL ID when flying with an adult that has a REAL ID.
The REAL ID is a gold star on your driver’s license. If you renew your license online, you might or might not be able to obtain the REAL ID at the same time, if they have all the documents they need. Otherwise, you must visit a SCDMV site. To see locations and wait times, click here.
The documents required are not as onerous as many believed. They fall into 4 categories:
- Two Proofs of SC Address. Examples are driver’s license, Social Security check or annual statement, voter registration card, a utility bill (such as cell phone bill, cable bill, water bill, etc.)
- Proof of US Citizenship/Proof of Identity and Date of Birth. Examples are a birth certificate or unexpired US Passport.
- Legal Documents Supporting Name Change. If you changed your name since birth, you can use your valid unexpired US Passport with your current name or a marriage license, etc.
- Proof of Social Security Number. Examples are your Social Security Card, your SSA-1099 annual statement used for taxes, payroll stub or W-2 form with your name and your employer’s information.
To see the complete list of acceptable documents, click here.
SCDMV has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions. To access it, click here.
(Photo credit: DHS.gov)