“Real ID” license now available

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Travel requirements take effect Oct. 1, 2020

You don’t have to get a Real ID right now. But without one, after October 1st, 2020, it’ll be harder to fly on a commercial airliner, enter a federal office, or get into a nuclear plant.

The Real ID program is a response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act based on recommendations from the 9/11 commission to set minimum nationwide security standards for driver’s licenses, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In December 2013, DHS announced it would phase in enforcement of the act. Forty-three states, including Tennessee, are now approved to issue Real ID-compliant licenses. 

As pictured, the new licenses will have a gold star in the upper right-hand corner, which is the most notable change. There are also features on the licenses that make counterfeiting more difficult, such as holograms. All Real IDs will also have a barcode that can be easily scanned to pull up information such as the holder’s full name, birth date, license number and more. According to the act, all the documents presented by Real ID applicants for identity and residency verification must be scanned and stored in a database ― including birth certificates and Social Security cards ― even if those people are denied an ID.

 The Real ID will cost the same as an ordinary Tennessee license, $32 for standard renewal of an expiring license. The State of Tennessee began issuing the new Real IDs on July 1st. If you want to get a Real ID before your current license is due to expire, it will cost the standard charge for a replacement license: $12 for the first, $16 for the second or third replacement.

 You won’t be able to get a Real ID online or through the mail. Wayne County residents can go to Stan Horton’s office, (the County Court Clerk), at the Wayne County Courthouse on the square. You’ll need to bring the following:

  • An original or certified document that proves your identity, such as a passport or birth certificate. Photocopies won’t be accepted.
  • A document that shows your Social Security number, such as a W-2 form.
  • Two documents that prove your residency, including your street address, such as a utility bill, rental agreement or mortgage statement. You can use photocopies for these.
  • If you’ve changed your legal name, you’ll need additional original or certified documents.
  • Cash, check or debit card to pay the fee.

It’s important to note that a Real ID is required only for entering airport security checkpoints and boarding aircraft, as well as entering secured federal facilities and nuclear plants. It’s not required in other instances when you might be asked to show ID, such as voting or registering to vote, applying for or receiving federal benefits, accessing health- or life-preserving services, and more. And if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll still need a valid passport.

For more information, go to tn.gov/tnrealid.