Do you have a REAL ID? No, I’m not talking about your state driver’s license, your Social Security card, or your birth certificate. I’m talking about the state-issued identification card that is actually called your REAL ID.
After the horrific events of 9/11, our government began a process of creating tighter standards for people to obtain a valid source of personal identification. The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005 by Congress, has taken many years to get every state on board and to set up the tight restrictions to obtain the identification card. As Homeland Security’s site advises, they wanted to “implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way.”
Here are the instances you will need a REAL ID: if you want or need to access Federal facilities or a nuclear power plant and to board federally regulated commercial aircraft. OK, so not many of us will ever enter a nuclear power plant, but many of us need to access Federal facilities, and at some point, most of us will get on a plane.
Well, after October 1, 2020 (14 months from now), you will need a REAL ID or a valid passport to board an airplane. So, OK, if you have a valid passport, you won’t need the REAL ID as long as you are willing (and remember) to schlep along your passport every time you fly within the US.
Here’s a portion of a recent press release: The Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers that beginning October 1, 2020, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States.
Here’s some advice: If you haven’t already gotten your REAL ID, do it now. Because (at least in Virginia) it’s a little complicated, especially if you’re a woman who has been divorced and remarried and taken your spouse’s last name.
I thought I was all set when I went to the DMV today. I had my social security card, my driver’s license, my official VITAL STATISTICS Pennsylvania birth certificate, a copy of my mortgage statement, a copy of a credit card statement, and my Prince George’s County Maryland marriage license.
Nope. The marriage license, which actually looked very official, complete with seal and a license number, was not the VITAL STATISTICS copy. So for another $12 and copies of more proof of who-do-you-think-you-are-asking-for-this? documentation, I will mail the request for the official license tomorrow.
But something told me that I should read a little more deeply on the Virginia DMV site to make sure that the marriage certificate was all I was missing. And apparently, I will also need to dig up the divorce decree from when I separated from my (ever) philandering high school sweetheart, may he rest in peace. The DMV did not tell me that today, so I would have wasted another trip. Because here’s the deal: the DMV needs to see official paperwork on the events that changed my birth name to the name I have now.
My guess is that most states will have similar stipulations in place. You can find your state’s information by searching for REAL ID and your state’s name.
I’m not really complaining, even though it likely sounds as if I am. I do get it; the government wants to make sure that I really am who I say I am.
And when I finally have jumped through the hurdles, my REAL ID will be a Virginia’s driver license with a star in the upper right corner.