What is the REAL ID?

The REAL ID Act is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and identification cards.  The Act established specific security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses.  Beginning October 1, 2020, Federal agencies will be prohibited from accepting licenses and identification cards that do not meet these standards.  This means that individuals will not be able to board a commercial plane or enter a federal facility without a REAL ID.

By October 1, 2020, not only must all states be issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses or IDs, but individuals must also have visited their state’s driver’s licensing agency and obtained a REAL ID compliant card, or acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities.

How do I know if my driver’s licenses or identification card is REAL ID-compliant?

REAL ID-compliant cards will have of one of the following markings on the upper top portion of the card:



If the card does not have one of these markings, it is not REAL ID-compliant and will not be accepted as proof of identity in order to board commercial aircraft or enter a federal facility.

How do I make my driver’s license or identification card REAL ID-compliant?

Maryland residents are required to make an appointment to be seen at an Maryland Department of Transportation MVA branch to receive a REAL ID.  At that appointment, typical required documents include: proof of age and identity, such as an original U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport; a Social Security Card, W-2 form (not more than 18 months old), or SSA-1099 form (not more than 18 months old); and two proofs of Maryland physical address, such as vehicle registration, insurance card, bank statement, credit card or utility bill or mail from a federal, state or local government agency.


Please note that in-person visits are required because your documents need to be reviewed and scanned by an MVA employee.  To schedule an appointment with the MVA, visit their Online Document Guide.  The MVA has extended their hours and added staff that can accommodate more than 3,000 appointments daily to guarantee that individuals with an appointment will be seen within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

What if I do not have the required documentation to bring to my REAL-ID appointment?

The MVA’s website indicates that you need to provide all required documents to the MVA to receive a REAL-ID complaint identification card.  You will need to request new documents from the appropriate agencies. Many of these documents can be ordered online. However please consider that you may have to apply in person and wait to receive official documents in the postal mail.


Click the links below to recover lost or destroyed documents: