REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions
Real ID is here. Are you ready? View our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about REAL ID below. For additional concerns please call our Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000.
The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, that establishes specific minimum federal standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight. Enforcement of the REAL ID Act at the card level begins on May 7, 2025. Maryland has been Real ID compliant since 2011.
The REAL ID Modernization Act has changed some proof of social security documentation requirements for customers. If you need to provide REAL ID documents, please visit our REAL ID Lookup Tool to determine what documents you will need to bring to your next appointment.
Customers with driver’s license or identification cards that expire before May 7, 2025 are eligible to renew and become REAL ID compliant up to 1 year prior to the expiration date on the card. MDOT MVA will contact you to remind you it’s time to renew one year in advance of your expiration date.
Customers with driver’s license or identification cards that expire after May 7, 2025 have the option to wait until the expiration date on the card OR upgrade to a REAL ID. Please keep in mind that after May 7, 2025, a REAL ID will be necessary to fly domestically or visit a federal facility. There is a $20 fee to upgrade.
Eventually, all Maryland customers will need to upgrade to the federal REAL ID. Right now, some customers carrying the “blue crab” driver’s license or identification card will not expire until after May 7, 2025. If you are one of these customers and you fly domestically or visit federal facilities, consider upgrading to a REAL ID for a $20 fee or you will need to bring additional documentation. Visit the Department of Homeland Security to see alternative accepted documents: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification
In order to make an appointment for federal REAL ID, go to the REAL ID Document Guide. The guide will help to identify the correct documents to satisfy REAL ID requirements, print a checklist for the customer, and prompt you to make an appointment at an MDOT MVA branch. We’ve extended hours and added staff that can accommodate more than 3,000 appointments daily statewide.
If you already have the new REAL ID driver’s license or identification card with the star and only need to submit documents, you will not have to pay. If you have the older style Maryland driver’s license or identification card you will pay a $20 fee for a duplicate driver’s license. There are no additional fees when renewing your driver’s license to obtain a REAL ID, just the standard renewal cost.
It depends. Marylanders who received a new license or ID card with the “star” symbol – but did not file required documents – need to bring those documents to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) to complete the process. To check your status visit: www.mva.maryland.gov/realidlookup
Email our Customer Service Center at MVAAFS@mdot.maryland.gov. We realize Maryland is an area that has many people serving overseas in the military, and we will work with you to determine how to satisfy this requirement.
Beginning May 7, 2025, Marylanders will need a REAL ID-compliant license, identification card or an acceptable alternative identification as approved by TSA to board domestic commercial flights or enter a federal facility without a secondary form of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved identification.
If you are over 65 and unable to use/provide a Birth Certificate, the following document exceptions can be used to prove age and identity for Real ID:
- An original or certified copy of a military discharge document (DD214) displaying your full name and date of birth;
- Social Security Administration Benefits Summary displaying your full name and date of birth,
- ONE of the following documents:
- U.S. Hospital Birth Certificate displaying name and date of birth; or,
- U.S. Baptismal Certificate displaying name and date of birth; or,
- U.S. Census Record of birth displaying name and date of birth; or,
- U.S. veteran ID card with name.
Yes. Maryland has been Real ID compliant since 2011 and current Maryland driver's licenses and identification cards will remain acceptable identification for boarding domestic commercial flights until May 7, 2025.
Even if you have the newly-designed driver’s license or identification card, you may need to submit additional documents in order to be REAL ID compliant – visit our Real ID Lookup Tool to determine your Real ID status.
To make your driver’s license or identification card Real ID complaint, typical required documents include:
- Proof of age and identity, such as an original U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport
- A Social Security Card, W-2 form (not more than 18 months old), or SSA-1099 form (not more than 18 months old)
- Two proofs of Maryland physical address, such as vehicle registration, insurance card, bank statement, credit card or utility bill or mail from a federal, state or local government agency.
For more information on accepted documents and to create a checklist prior to your visit, check out our online document guide and make an appointment. We guaranteed you will be seen within 15 minutes of your appointment.
Please note: Photocopies, digital scans, or photos of documents do not meet federal requirements and will not be accepted.
To determine if your driver’s license or identification card is Real ID compliant, visit the MDOT MVA online document guide. The online document guide will assist you in building a checklist of the documents needed for renewal and will allow you to make an appointment to make your visit as convenient as possible.
If you do not bring the required documents to the MDOT MVA branch, we cannot process your Driver’s license or ID card renewal.
You will need to request new documents from the appropriate agencies. A printed copy of a birth certificate can be provided at the following MDOT MVA Branches: Baltimore City, Essex, Frederick, Annapolis, and Largo. However please consider that you may have to apply in person and wait to receive official documents in the postal mail.
If the Real ID Lookup Guide indicates that you need to provide documents to MDOT MVA to renew your driver’s license or identification card, you must visit an MDOT MVA branch in person. Real ID security requirements require that you bring in documents to be reviewed and scanned in person.
Please visit the Online Document Guide to learn about accepted documents.
- If the name on your birth certificate is different than the name on your other documents, you will need to show the name change documentation [e.g., marriage certificate(s), divorce decree(s), court order(s)] that provide your entire name change history.
- If the name on your Social Security Card is different, you will need to get an updated card by visiting https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/.
- If the name on your U.S. passport is different, you will need to get an updated passport by visiting https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/services/correction.html.
- Your proof of residency documents must have the name and the address MDOT MVA has on file for you to meet the federal requirements.