FAQ
Real ID
How does REAL ID affect me?

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, you must show a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, or an alternative form of acceptable identification, for domestic air travel and for entering certain federal facilities. The federal Transportation Security Administration website lists acceptable alternatives to a state-issued REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card. 

You may not need a REAL ID-compliant card if you:

  • Do not fly and you do not plan to enter certain federal facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants.
  • Have an acceptable alternative to a state-issued REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, such as a valid U.S. passport.

Note: If you have an enhanced driver’s license or enhanced ID card, you have a REAL ID-compliant card.  Enhanced licenses and ID cards have an American flag printed on them to show that they conform to the federal REAL ID requirements.

 

 

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What is the REAL ID Act?

The federal standards known as REAL ID were drafted by Congress in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks based on recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. REAL ID sets document and security protocols for the production of driver’s licenses and ID cards, including the use of features to prevent illegal copying or altering. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is charged with enforcement of REAL ID. More information about the REAL ID Act is available on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website, including REAL ID FAQs.

 

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When does REAL ID law take effect?

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, your driver’s license or state ID card must be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it to fly domestically in the U.S. or enter certain federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants.

You may notice Transportation Security Administration posters in airports displaying “Jan. 22, 2018” as the date that all driver’s licenses and state IDs must be REAL ID-compliant to be accepted as valid documentation when flying domestically. This is true, but it affects residents from states that have not conformed to the REAL ID federal standards for issuing driver’s licenses and state ID cards. Michigan has met the federal standards, which means that even if your license or ID card is not currently REAL ID compliant, it will still be accepted at airports as valid until Oct. 1, 2020.

 

 

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How does a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID differ from a standard driver's license or state ID?

Your REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card will have a star in a gold circle printed on it – or the American flag in the case of an enhanced license or ID card. Standard licenses and state IDs (which do not meet the federal REAL ID requirements) will have “Not for Federal Identification” printed on them.

 

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Do I have to apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card when I renew my driver's license or state ID card?

No. Michigan will continue to issue standard driver’s licenses and state ID cards that are not REAL ID compliant. However, as of Oct. 1, 2020, if you plan to fly domestically or enter certain federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants, you will need to bring documentation that meets the REAL ID requirements.

 

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Do children and teens need REAL ID?

Transportation Security Administration does not require children under age 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

 

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Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, what will I show at an airport if I do not have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID?

A valid U.S. passport or passport card, DHS Trusted Traveler card, and U.S. Military ID are just a few of the documents that will be accepted if you don’t have a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card. The federal Transportation Security Administration lists acceptable alternatives to a state-issued REAL ID-compliant license or ID card.

 

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How much does a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID card cost?

Standard driver’s license and ID card fees apply. There is no additional cost for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card when a person renews normally. A correction fee may be charged when people apply for a compliant license outside of their normal renewal cycle.

 

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What does a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID card look like?

A REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID card will have a star in a gold circle printed in the upper right corner of the card. Enhanced licenses and IDs, which are also REAL ID compliant, have an American flag printed on them.

REAL-ID

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDL REAL-ID

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What happens to my standard driver's license or ID card after Oct. 1, 2020 if I do not obtain a REAL ID-compliant card?

Nothing. Your standard Michigan driver’s license remains valid for driving, and a standard license and state ID may be used as identification for cashing checks, renting vehicles, purchasing alcohol and tobacco, or entering casinos. Just remember, you will need to bring a REAL ID-compliant document when you fly domestically, or enter a military base, nuclear power plant and certain federal buildings because your standard license or state ID will no longer be accepted.

 

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How do I apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID card?

First Michigan Driver’s License or ID:

If you are applying for your first (original) Michigan driver’s license or ID card, please refer to the form, Applying for a Driver’s License or ID? (SOS-428). This form explains what documents are required to obtain your REAL ID card. 

Renewing a Michigan Driver’s License or ID Card:

  • If your renewal notice states that your card is REAL ID compliant, your new license or ID will have a star printed on it. If you are renewing an enhanced license or ID, it will have the American flag printed on it to show that it conforms to the federal REAL ID requirements.
  • If your renewal notice states that your license or ID is not REAL ID compliant and you want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card, you must visit a Secretary of State office. Please read the insert included with your renewal notice carefully to see what documentation you must provide.

    Note: You cannot apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card by mail or online. Any documents provided when applying for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card must be originals or copies certified with a raised seal or stamp; faxes and photocopies will not be accepted.

If your name is different from what’s on your birth certificate, you’ll need to bring in a certified name-change document, such as your marriage license or court order. Multiple documents may be needed if your name has changed more than once. Name-change documents must show both the changed name and the previous name. Divorce decrees may be used if they are certified (copies are not accepted) and if they show the changed name and the previous name.

 

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Can I still obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID if it's too early for me to renew?

If you are a U.S. citizen and want to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, but you are not yet eligible to renew:

  • Please bring a certified U.S. birth certificate with a stamp or raised seal; a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card; or other approved citizenship or legal presence document to a Secretary of State office. If your name is different from what’s on your birth certificate, you’ll need to bring in a certified name-change document, such as your marriage license or court order. Multiple documents may be needed if your name has changed more than once. Name-change documents must show both the changed name and the previous name. Divorce decrees may be used if they are certified (copies are not accepted) and if they show the changed name and the previous name. The standard correction or duplicate card fee will apply: $9 for operator license; $18 for chauffeur license; $10 for identification card.  Enhanced licenses and enhanced ID cards, which are also REAL ID compliant, are another option – fees will vary, check the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos for complete details.

If you are a legal permanent resident or a temporary legal resident and want to obtain a REAL-compliant driver’s license or ID card before your current card expires:

  • Please go to a Secretary of State Branch office and provide proof of legal presence documentation as outlined in the form, Applying for a License or ID? (SOS-428) Standard correction or duplicate card fee will apply: $9 for operator license; $18 for chauffeur license; $10 for identification card.

If you have any questions about the documents required to obtain a driver’s license or state ID card, please call the Department of State Information Center at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

 

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Where can I get a certified copy of my birth certificate?

Michigan birth certificates are available for a fee from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or from the county clerk’s office of the county in which you were born.

 Note: State-issued Delayed Foreign Birth Certificates or hospital birth certificates are not proof of citizenship.

Born in another state? Please contact your birth state’s vital records office to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate.

U.S. citizens born in a foreign country: Please contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section to obtain a U.S. passport or a consular report of birth abroad. Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain a Naturalization or Citizenship certificate.

More information is available on the Michigan Department of State website in “Driver’s License and State ID.”

 

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What is the difference between a standard card, a REAL ID-compliant card and an enhanced card?

The attached chart explains the differences between the three types of cards.

 

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