GLEN BURNIE, MD (October 18, 2021) – Obtaining a birth certificate to become “REAL ID ready” just got easier thanks to a partnership between the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Division of Vital Records. Maryland-born customers visiting branch offices in Baltimore City and Essex can request a certified copy of their birth certificate and have it printed onsite to provide as proof of identity to acquire a REAL ID ahead of the May 3, 2023 deadline.
“We are always looking for opportunities to work with other state agencies to eliminate challenges for our customers,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “Marylanders are leading the nation in completing the federal REAL ID requirement, with more than 82% of residents already compliant. For those who still need to present documents, we hope this service will provide additional access and convenience.”
As part of its continuous effort to provide premier customer service, MDOT MVA has been looking for ways to help Marylanders identify and obtain the documents needed to comply with REAL ID since the federal mandate was first issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 38, Motor Vehicle Administration – Birth Certificates – Issuance of Copies in 2018, authorizing MDOT MVA to access birth certificates electronically from MDH and provide a copy to customers under certain circumstances. Additionally, Congress passed the REAL ID Modernization Act in 2020, eliminating the Social Security document requirement for residents who already have their Social Security number on file and verified with MDOT MVA.
Currently, customers are required to complete a driver license or identification card transaction to obtain a certified birth certificate at the MDOT MVA branches where this service is provided. The multi-step process to request a birth certificate at an MDOT MVA branch office spent months in development and testing to ensure the highest security standards. Customers verify personal information with one customer agent and provide payment to a second agent to ensure data privacy.
The birth certificate pilot program began in 2021 at the Baltimore City branch. Since then, more than 950 customers at that location and 61 customers in Essex have benefited from this partnership. The goal is to add other branch offices throughout the state going forward. MDH sets fees for certified birth certificate copies at $10. MDOT MVA will not collect any additional fees for this service and the customer will leave with a new copy of their birth certificate, as well as the MDOT MVA product they were attempting to obtain.
“With a complete focus on our customers and their experience, MDOT is always looking for ways to enhance service and convenience,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “This partnership – bringing together MDOT MVA and MDH to address an important need for Marylanders – is another great example of how our MVA team continues to lead the way in providing premiere customer service.”
“This partnership between MDH and MDOT will help provide Marylanders with the tools they need to meet REAL ID compliance by enhancing and maximizing convenience,” said MDH Assistant Secretary for Customer Experience Tara Hargadon. “Being able to print and receive certified birth certificates in-house at MVA locations means individuals will have easier access to the documents they need, all in one location.”
Customers are reminded that MDOT MVA continues to operate under an appointment-only model. Those wishing to make an appointment can access the Central Scheduling System.
The federal REAL ID Act was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In August 2019, MDOT MVA became the first in the nation to have its REAL ID process recertified by DHS, affirming Maryland’s compliance with the federal requirements. By May 3, 2023, all U.S. citizens must have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card to board commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities.
Marylanders are encouraged to visit MVA.Maryland.gov and use the REAL ID Look Up Tool to learn their REAL ID status before making an appointment. For more information on REAL ID resources and other MDOT MVA services available online, visit our website mva.maryland.gov.