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Countdown ticking for Real ID deadline

Countdown ticking for Real ID deadline
Countdown ticking for Real ID deadline
Real ID-compliant licenses are indicated by a star in the upper right-hand corner. Photo Courtesy of Indiana BMV

Indiana residents have less than a year now to get their Real ID driver’s licenses, which will soon be needed to fly domestically.

The deadline is Oct. 1, 2020, and, after that date, compliant IDs, indicated by a star in the upper right-hand corner of the driver’s license, will also be needed to access secure federal government property, including military bases and nuclear plants, unless alternative documentation is provided, such as a passport or common access card.

The change will not affect international travel, which will still require a passport.

The new federal ID requirements are the result of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Tsunami Relief passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush in 2005.

Most Indiana licenses expire every six years, and residents can renew their licenses up to 24 months before they expire.

Those whose driver’s licenses expire before the deadline can renew at the time they had initially planned to, but the process for renewal might change.
Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles allows residents to complete license renewals online for every other renewal, but getting a Real ID-compliant license for the first time will require residents to provide documentation in person.

Upgrading to a Real ID-compliant license costs the same as a standard license renewal — $17.50 — but requires more documentation.
Those applying for a Real ID for the first time must bring the following with them to the BMV:

  • One original document to prove identity (passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Documentation detailing changes to his or her legal name (marriage license, court order, etc.)
  • One document to prove Social Security number (Social Security card, W-2 form, etc.)
  • Two documents to prove Indiana residency (utility bill, credit card statement, doctor or hospital bill issued within 60 days of application, pre-printed pay stub issued within 60 days of application, Indiana voter ID card, U.S. Postal Service change of address confirmation, etc.)

U.S. citizens can obtain birth certificates through the health department of the state where they were born and marriage licenses from the county clerk where they were married.

Real ID is not mandatory for Indiana license holders, so residents can still renew their driver’s licenses without the extra documentations. A person choosing to renew a “legacy ID” without the new features must sign an affidavit to indicate that they are aware of potential restrictions to flying and access to federal facilities.

Christine Meyer, director of communications and public affairs for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said the BMV offers state ID cards for those who do not drive who will allow access to the same secure locations as the Real ID-compliant cards but without licensing an individual to drive. The same documentation is required for the state ID as is required for a Real ID driver’s license.

Meyer stressed that Real ID-compliant ID cards will be needed at any secure federal facility after the deadline, not just at airports.

“We want to make sure that people don’t miss the option of doing something because they didn’t upgrade to the Real ID,” she said.

Call the Indiana BMV at 1-888-692-6841 for help identifying what documents may be needed to get a Real ID or for directions to the official channels through which to obtain them.