Are You Ready To Be REAL ID Compliant?

On Oct. 1, 2020, the federally mandated REAL ID law goes into full enforcement, and if you travel by air, this law will impact you. If you haven’t been paying attention to REAL ID, it’s time to get informed. As of June 2019, only 37 percent of Michigan licenses and ID cards were REAL ID-compliant, which could mean a last-minute rush at Secretary of State offices the deadline nears.

What is REAL ID?

REAL ID is the post-9/11 federal requirement that sets higher security standards for identification. Once in full effect, standard state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards no longer will be good enough in Homeland Security scenarios, such as boarding flights within the United States and entering certain federal facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants.

The good news is many people already have a REAL ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an Enhanced Driver’s License. A full list of acceptable REAL ID documents is available at The bad news is your standard driver’s license or ID card isn’t on that list unless you turn it into a REAL ID-compliant document by visiting a Secretary of State branch office and presenting the required documents.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring to Secretary of State:

  • Driver’s license or state ID card.
  • Certified birth certificate, with a raised seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency; your valid, unexpired U.S. passport; or an approved citizenship or legal presence document. (Faxes and photocopies won’t be accepted.)
  • If your name differs from what is on your birth certificate, bring certified documents for every time your name has changed, such as marriage licenses or court orders.

There’s no additional fee to turn a license or state ID card into a standard REAL ID if it’s done during your normal renewal time; otherwise, there is a duplicate card fee charge.

Don’t delay. REAL ID goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020.

Additional Information

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