If you’ve been to your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) office to renew your driver’s license or state-issued ID in the past few years, you may have noticed some changes. You may have been asked to provide additional forms of identification and you may have been issued a paper license or ID while you waited for your actual license or card to arrive in the mail.
These changes are the result of the federal Real ID Act. The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, established minimum security standards for sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses and state IDs. One requirement of the Act is that licenses and ID cards be produced offsite in a secure facility – that’s why Ohio’s licenses and ID cards are no longer provided over the counter at the BMV office.
Since 2005, states have been working to meet the new requirements. The final enforcement deadline is October 1, 2020. By this date, not only must all states be issuing Real ID-compliant licenses or IDs, but individuals must also have a Real ID-compliant card, or acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities.
These changes are causing some confusion because states, including Ohio, can still issue two forms of licenses and ID cards: compliant cards and standard cards.
So what’s the difference and which one do you need? If you plan to fly commercially (fly anywhere in the U.S.), you will need a federally-compliant Real-ID card – or another acceptable form of identification – in order to pass through airport security.
It is important to note that both compliant and standard cards allow you to prove your identity for tasks like registering to vote, obtaining social services or buying alcohol.
If you decide you do want a federally compliant Real-ID, you’ll need to be prepared when you go to the BMV because the federal government requires additional forms of identification in order to get the new card. You must be able to prove your full legal name, date of birth, U.S. legal presence, social security number and address.
The Ohio BMV suggests you bring ALL of the following documents to your local BMV when you are ready to get a new license or ID card:
- Birth Certificate (original or certified copy required) or U.S. Passport
- Social Security Card or most recent W-2 or 1099 (full social security number must be listed)
- Two proofs of Ohio address: utility bills, credit card/bank statements
- Marriage license(s) and/or divorce decrees to prove any legal name changes (original or certified copies required)
If you do not have one or more of these documents, or you are wondering what other forms of documentation are accepted, Ohio has created an interactive webpage to help. The site walks users through the ID requirements and checks off each requirement as you select the documents you plan to bring to the BMV to prove your identity.
Once you’ve successfully applied for a new federally-compliant Real-ID, your new card should arrive in the mail within 10 business days. In the meantime, you will be issued a temporary form of ID at the BMV office. You must carry this temporary ID with you until your permanent ID arrives in the mail.
The following resources provide additional information about the Real ID Act and Ohio’s process for obtaining a federally-compliant ID card:
- Homeland Security Real ID
- Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Real-ID website
- Birth Certificates – if you need to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate you can obtain one online from VitalCheck. You may also visit the vital records office in the county where you were born. Vital records offices are part of your county health department.