TOWSON, MD (Wednesday, May 1, 2019) –– The lines are running longer and the time is getting shorter. Marylanders have less than a year and a half to become REAL ID compliant. “Passed in the aftermath of 9/11, the REAL ID Act of 2005 established a new, federal standard for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards required to board domestic flights or enter certain federal facilities,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Maryland is a REAL ID compliant jurisdiction, which means starting in October 2020, area residents will need either a REAL ID or a passport to board even a domestic airline flight or enter a federal building. To expedite the process of obtaining a REAL ID, you must meet the burden of proof, advises AAA Travel Services. To do so, you will need one proof of identity. You must also provide one proof of legal presence, plus two proofs of residency of your state or jurisdiction. All the documents required to verify your identity must be originals, including official birth documents issued by a state. All documents are subject to verification. Temporary documents and photocopies are not accepted.
To reduce wait times for REAL ID, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration is extending service hours at seven branch offices starting next Tuesday, May 7. Under the plan, the Maryland MVA will make “more than 3,000 appointments available statewide each day.” The number of drivers’ licenses renewals in Maryland has ballooned “from 10,000 a month to 100,000 drivers’ licenses per month,” according to MVA Administrator Christine Nizer. “Sixty percent of Maryland’s almost 3 million licensed drivers must submit new documentation to prove age, identity and residence by October 2020,” according to news reports. To avoid the wait, Maryland residents are eligible for early renewal up to six months before their driver’s license or identification card expires.
“The process of obtaining your permanent REAL ID credential can prove time-consuming and tedious. You must present full documentation proving identity, and only original versions or certified copies of the required documents will be accepted,” said Averella. “However, before standing in a long line or making an appointment, check to see if you already have a REAL ID credential. If you have a star in the upper right-hand corner of your driver’s license, permit, or identification card, you have a REAL-ID compliant license,” Averella added. For security purposes, your renewed driver’s license or identification card will be mailed directly to your home address.
How do you prove who you are? Maryland residents must gather and bring the following documents with them to renew:
- One proof of age and identity. Examples: An original or certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate or a valid, unexpired U.S. Passport. Please note:
One proof of Social Security. Examples: An original Social Security Card, W-2 form, or an SSA-1099 (Displaying your name and entire Social Security number).
Two separate proofs of Maryland residency. Examples: insurance card, vehicle registration, credit card or utility bill, bank statement, mail from a federal, state, or local government agency, displaying your name, and Maryland residential address.
- If your current legal name is different than what is listed on these documents, you will also need to provide a government-issued marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other court document(s) to explain the name change.
- If you do not have your birth certificate, you will need to contact your state or county Department of Health office in the state of your birth and request an original or certified copy. Some states may take up to five months to process duplicate birth certificates.
- When it comes to proof of identification and legal presence, keep in mind, birth documents issued by a hospital; notification or birth registration; and Puerto Rico birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 are not accepted.
REAL ID is not required for children under 18 and you will be able to board a flight, if you have a U.S. Passport or another form of approved identification, you can use that instead.
Maryland residents are encouraged to make an appointment on the MDOT MVA website, and after collecting documentation visit a local branch to become REAL ID compliant. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 59 million members nationwide and more than 982,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.