GLEN BURNIE, Md. – With six months to go until the federally mandated deadline for REAL ID compliance, 88% of Marylanders are fully prepared. But that means more than 500,000 other Marylanders will be unable to board an airplane or gain access to federal facilities after the federal deadline of May 3, 2023 – unless they act soon to obtain their REAL ID.
To help the transition go as smooth as possible for those remaining Marylanders, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is making the process quicker and easier than ever before.
“I am incredibly proud our customers’ responsiveness in providing documents to become REAL ID compliant over the last several years. As we enter the final stretch, I am confident Marylanders will be prepared for the transition enabling them to continue their travels uninterrupted,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “Over the last several years, the agency has expanded its partnerships and services to assist more than 4.3 million Marylanders in becoming compliant and will continue to provide all our customers premier service.”
The federal REAL ID Act was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Once in effect, people will be required to have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card to board a commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities.
Obtaining a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card with the REAL ID star in the upper right-hand corner requires that customers have one proof of age and identity, proof of Social Security, and two proofs of Maryland residency on file with MDOT MVA.
One of the easiest ways for customers to check their REAL ID status is to sign up for a myMVA account. MyMVA allows customers to set up an account that’s unique to their needs, including displaying their REAL ID status right on the dashboard. Additionally, myMVA gives customers access to their driver’s license information, vehicle registration status, copies of any correspondence MDOT MVA has sent to them, vehicle emissions inspection program deadlines and more. It also alert customers if the transaction they are attempting to complete can be done online. Customers can also check their REAL ID status by entering a driver’s license or ID card number into the REAL ID Lookup Tool here.
Under a law passed in 2021, driver’s licenses can be renewed up to 12 months before the expiration date. This gives about 185,000 customers the opportunity to renew their license before the deadline – and thus obtain their REAL ID without an additional fee. Customers can schedule an appointment for renewal or to present documents through their myMVA account. MDOT MVA has available appointments at branches statewide within one to three days, and often on the same day. Nearly 80% of customers visiting an MDOT MVA branch office complete their transaction within 15 minutes.
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) modified requirements for obtaining a REAL ID after Congress passed the REAL ID Modernization Act. The Act provided an update to the original requirements, allowing residents who already have their Social Security number on file and verified with MDOT MVA to fulfill the proof of Social Security requirement without presenting their Social Security card.
In addition, MDOT MVA began a pilot program in March 2021 in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records to allow Maryland-born customers visiting the Annapolis, Baltimore City, Essex, Frederick, Largo and Salisbury branch offices to request a certified copy of their birth certificate and have it printed onsite to fulfill the proof of identity requirement. To date, more than 2,200 customers have taken advantage of this added service.
Maryland has one of the top REAL ID compliance rates in the country. According to the most recent information from DHS, the national rate stands around 51%.