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Whitney Nichels,

Federal REAL ID Modernization Act Streamlines Social Security Card Requirement for Current Customers

Maryland residents with a Social Security number already on file with the state are one step closer to REAL ID

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (February 23, 2021) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has modified critical requirements for obtaining a REAL ID as a result of the REAL ID Modernization Act passed by Congress last year. The Act provides updates to the original REAL ID requirements set more than 15 years ago, and will make it easier for some Marylanders to obtain their REAL ID before the October 1, 2021, deadline.


At the state level, residents who already have their Social Security number on file and verified with the MDOT MVA are no longer required to provide a Social Security card when presenting documents to obtain a REAL ID. This relieves about 960,000 Marylanders from having to provide a Social Security card during their appointment, and brings more than 5,800 residents who already have other required documents on file into full compliance.

For all first time REAL ID customers, however, it’s important to remember that proof of identity, social security and two proofs of address are still required.

To avoid confusion, customers are encouraged to check the MDOT MVA Online Document Guide and REAL ID Look Up Tool prior to their appointment to ensure Social Security card compliance status. This critical step can prevent multiple trips to an MDOT MVA branch to present missing documents.

“As these federal mandates have been put in place and modified over the years, MDOT MVA and Maryland residents have worked together to accomplish our compliance goals,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “I am proud to say Maryland is already over 73% compliant. I want to thank our incredible staff for their hard work and our customers for their flexibility as we continue our efforts to satisfy this requirement.”

The federal REAL ID Act was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Once in effect, people will be required to have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card to board a commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities. The deadline to become REAL ID compliant was originally October 1, 2020, but was pushed back to October 1, 2021, following a request from Governor Larry Hogan on behalf of the National Governors Association to extend the deadline in response to COVID-19.

As a result of the new deadline, nearly 300,000 Marylanders will be able to come into compliance during their standard license renewal process without having to make a separate trip to a branch. To renew online, visit the MDOT MVA eStore.

There is currently less than eight months until the REAL ID deadline. Customers who have not presented documents can make an appointment to do so on the MDOT MVA Central Scheduling System. For more information on REAL ID in Maryland, visit the MDOT MVA website, and for federal resources, visit the DHS website.

MDOT MVA is also alerting customers that in February, staff became aware of a REAL ID-related text messaging scam designed to lure customers into sharing private information on a phishing website. MDOT’s Information Technology teams worked quickly to get the website shut down, and MDOT MVA sent alerts to all customers asking them not to click the link and immediately delete the message. Customers are reminded that MDOT MVA would never ask for sensitive information, such as Social Security number, driver’s license number or address, via text message.

MDOT MVA only sends texts to confirm, modify and cancel customer appointments. If you ever receive a text that you did not expect, please contact Any customers who did open the suspicious link and entered personal information is encouraged to visit the Maryland Attorney General’s Identity Theft page for help.