The Real ID


By Ed Reilly
Senator, District 33

The Real ID Act of 2005 is a federal law that mandates your state issued ID card (such as a driver’s license) to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane or accessing federal facilities. If you have a Maryland-issued ID card, you will need to update this card by October 2020. You can apply for the REAL ID when you renew your driver’s license, or you may renew your license early by making an appointment and providing the needed documents.

If you chose to apply for the REAL ID prior to your driver’s license expiring, it is essential that you make an appointment with an MVA of your choice. The MVA website can walk you through a checklist of the required documents. Once you have checked off the documents you chose to bring, you electronically schedule your appointment.

First, you will need one proof of age and identity. This can be a certified copy of your birth certificate or a valid U.S. passport. Please note – documents issued by a hospital, notification of birth registration, birth registration cards, and foreign birth certificates are not accepted as your proof of identity! If your birth document is not certified, you must get a “certificate of record” from the Division of Vital Records. Visit this website to find out how to get a certified copy of your birth certificate: This certified copy of your birth certificate will cost $20.

Second, you will need one proof of Social Security. This can include your original Social Security card, a W-2 form, or a Social Security Administration benefits statement, SSA-1099. The document must show your name and full Social Security number.

Third, you must provide two proofs of Maryland residency. Examples are an insurance card, vehicle registration, credit card bill, utility bill, bank statement or mail from a federal, state or local government agency.

Fourth and finally, if your current legal name is different from what is on any of these requested documents, you will need to provide a government-issued marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other court-issued documents that explain why your name has been changed. In addition to the proper certified birth document, people have reported that they have been rejected because of an incomplete name on their passports. If your passport does not have your complete first, middle and last names, you will be required to provide a certified birth certificate with your complete name on it instead of using your passport.

It is highly recommended that you make an appointment when you go to apply for your REAL ID. The best way to make this appointment is to go to the MVA website at This site is user-friendly and will take you step-by-step through the documents you will need. As you check off the documents, the website will create a checklist for you to print as an organization aid of the documents you chose for your appointment. At the end of the checklist process, the website will direct you to the next available appointment at the MVA of your choice to apply for the REAL ID. If you walk through the steps on this website, you should be prepared for your appointment.

Once again, this is a federal law and it will have to be done prior to October 2020. If you do not have REAL ID at that time, you will not be able to process through airport security for commercial air travel, or enter into any federal building. It’s a process that all of us will have to go through. Properly prepare yourself for the application process by using the checklist and making an appointment, and the process hopefully will go smoothly. If you have any questions pertaining to the process, contact my office at


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