BALTIMORE, MD (May 4, 2022) – If you’re planning to travel by plane this time next year, it’s time to get real about getting REAL ID ready. Marylanders now have less than a year to get a federally mandated REAL ID ahead of the May 3, 2023 deadline. Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary James F. Ports, Jr., joined MDOT Motor Vehicle Administrator (MDOT MVA) Chrissy Nizer and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Airport) Executive Director Ricky Smith to mark the one-year milestone this afternoon in an effort to ensure every Marylander is well-informed and prepared.
“Maryland has made significant progress over the last few years, assisting more than 4.2 million people become REAL ID ready,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Nizer. “Our goal is to ensure every Marylander is aware of the upcoming deadline, understands the requirements to obtain a REAL ID if they don’t already have one and can access the tools that are readily available to them to get a compliant product.”
As of May 3, 2023, all Marylanders 18 years of age and older must have documents on file and a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane or enter a federal facility. Airport numbers continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and are anticipated to continue to grow as we approach the summer months.
Obtaining a compliant REAL ID driver’s license or identification card with the REAL ID star in the upper right-hand corner requires one proof of age and identity, one proof of Social Security, and two proofs of Maryland residency on file with MDOT MVA. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original deadline of October 1, 2020, was delayed, allowing states more time to assist residents come into compliance. Since then, many updates have gone into effect and the MDOT MVA has implemented new services to help Marylanders obtain a REAL ID.
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) modified requirements for obtaining a REAL ID after Congress passed the REAL ID Modernization Act. The Act provided an update to the original requirements, allowing residents who already have their Social Security number on file and verified with the MDOT MVA to fulfill the proof of Social Security requirement without presenting their Social Security card. MDOT MVA also began a pilot program in March 2021 in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Division of Vital Records to allow Maryland-born customers visiting the Annapolis, Baltimore City, Essex, Frederick and Largo branch offices to request a certified copy of their birth certificate and have it printed onsite to fulfill the proof of identity requirement. To date, more than 1,500 customers have taken advantage of this added service.
“Over the last several years, MDOT MVA has implemented new services that make getting a REAL ID faster and easier than ever,” said MDOT Secretary Ports. “At nearly 87%, Maryland has one of the highest compliance rates in the nation, and we’re well positioned to have a seamless transition when the federal deadline takes effect.”
“The federal deadline will bring a significant change in how our passengers make their way through the airport,” said BWI Marshall Executive Director Smith. “Preparing ahead is the best way to ensure our passengers can continue to take their trips uninterrupted.”
REAL ID was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In August 2019, MDOT MVA became the first state in nation to get recertified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, giving its stamp of approval for Maryland’s compliance with federal REAL ID requirements.
Marylanders are reminded that under a law passed in 2021, driver’s licenses can be renewed up to 12 months before the expiration date, providing customers greater time to renew. Marylanders can check their REAL ID status by entering a driver’s license or identification card number into the REAL ID Lookup Tool here. Customers can schedule an appointment for renewal or to present documents through their myMVA account.
To date, Maryland jurisdictions have reached the following compliance rates:
Percent of Residents Compliant
Anne Arundel County
Prince George’s County
Queen Anne’s County
St. Mary’s County