Some Answers to Your Questions About the New REAL ID

Like many things that change, the new REAL ID has addressed many issues but has also created much confusion and many questions..

Did you know, for example, that federal requirements will require you to be compliant with REAL ID? Having a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card will be necessary to board commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities.

We spoke with Chrissy Nizer, Maryland’s Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration Administrator, to get a better understanding of some things what YOU need to know about the REAL ID:

What is REAL ID, and why is it important?

The Federal Real ID Act was passed after the tragic events of 9/11. Several of the terrorists had identification that was not legitimate or not their own identities, so the federal government felt the need to raise the standards of all state drivers’ licenses and ID cards that were issued.”


What are some of the important deadlines?

The deadlines people should be aware of… the big one is October of 2020, and that is the federal deadline for when individuals will be required to have a Real ID to board an airplane or enter a federal facility…so at that time if you have a passport you can use that instead… but if you don’t have a passport you’ll need to make sure that you have a Real ID issued by your state in order to board an airplane or enter a federal facility.”

Maryland has been compliant since 2011 and they started getting documents from their new customers since 2009, so the good news is that we have required documents to be filed for over 2.5 million of our customers, and over 1.9 million of our customers already have documents on file and Real ID credentials so those individuals are good to go.”

Click here for more information.


In the meantime, what should people do to have everything in order to comply with the federal REAL ID requirement?

We’re encouraging all of our customers to go to, and we have Real ID prominently displayed. There’s a Real ID look up tool and all you have to do enter your driver licenses number. It will tell us if you already have documents on file with us or not, and it will tell you if you need to bring documents in. Any customers who have the new driver license ID card- which has the Maryland flag in the background and it has a star on the right hand corner- if those customers don’t have documents on file, we’ll be reaching out to them to come in and provide documents.”

Click here for a guide to help you gather the documents you need.


What do the stars on the Maryland ID represent?  

That is actually a federal designation that we’re required to put on the card… so federal agents will be able to enforce Real ID when the time comes; so those stars represent that the card is compliant.”


What are some other things people should know?

Although the federal deadline is October 2020, MVA is reaching out to some of their customers now who have the new driver license ID card and don’t have documents on file. What we’ve done is given them a six-month deadline to provide the required documents. 

“...If those individuals don’t respond by the deadline given, then their license will be recalled – which means that their license to drive is still good, but the physical document is not – because we don’t have documents on file for them…and so they’ll need to come into our office and take care of that action. We’ve encouraged people to take care of it now, go online and use the various tools we have.” 

MVA has added additional hours for convenience of their customers, click here for more details.


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Jordan Lindsay

About Jordan Lindsay

Jordan Lindsay is a Reporter for My MC Media. Let her help tell your story by emailing


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