Maryland Real ID

A Maryland Real ID will have a star on it.

What is a Maryland Real ID?

Maryland Real ID is a Federal Security Standard for ID’s established by the Real ID Act.

Did you know federal requirements will require you to be compliant with REAL ID by October 1, 2020?
Having a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card will be necessary to board commercial aircraft or gain access to federal facilities. 
To be considered REAL ID compliant, you must have the required documents on file with the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA).

To find out if you are Real ID compliant, visit this website:   REAL ID Lookup Tool


You will need to make an appointment on the MDOT MVA website, and after collecting documentation visit a local branch to become REAL ID compliant.



How do I get a Maryland Real ID or Compliant Driver’s License?

The Maryland Real ID or driver’s license is often referred to as compliant and non-compliant ID’s.  You will need to make an appointment at the MVA to have them review your documentation – what they refer to as the CORE FOUR.

The Real ID Core Four are the four documents you’ll need to verify who you are and where you live.  Don’t leave for your MDOT MVA visit without them!  You will then be required to complete an online checklist before you will be able to make the appointment. 


You can only get your Maryland Real ID IN PERSON AT THE MVA!

The link to the online checklist can be found here:    Maryland Real ID Document Checklist.

You will need to check the options that are given to prove the following.  
  • Proof of Age 
  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of Social Security
  • Proof of Residential Address


Documents accepted for proof of Age and Identity:

US citizens, immigrants and non-immigrants with valid USCIS documentation able to prove lawful status in the US, may select from the list below for a REAL ID Compliant ID or license.

Note: If you changed your name, you will need additional documents.

Married?  Bring your marriage certificate

Divorced?    Bring your divorce decree

Court order name change?   Bring court-issued document

Immigrants who do not have valid USCIS documentation, select from the list below to obtain Non REAL ID Compliant ID or license.

    Note: Select Country from the MVA’s approved list.



Documents accepted for proof of Social Security Card – You will need ONE:

  •  Please note: Medicare cards are NOT an accepted form for proof of social security.
  • I don’t have a Social Security number.

    If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number, you must present a letter from the Social Security Administration demonstrating your ineligibility.

    For information on how to apply for a Social Security Number or to obtain locations to obtain the letter of ineligibility, please visit. Social Security



Documents accepted for proof of residency – you will need TWO:

Select at least two (2) of the following documents which display your Maryland residential address and are from two (2) separate organizations. If you do not have two (2) items from this list, see if you qualify for  one (1) of the “Residency Exceptions” listed below.

  • Residency Exceptions


Once you have gone through the online checklist, you will be able to print your list of documents so that you can gather them up – and you will be given the opportunity to make your appointment online.  


What Is the REAL ID Act?

Formulated in the wake of September 11 and passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes.

It was aimed at eliminating airline terrorism by increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes.

State agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles require more paperwork regarding proof of residency and Social Security Number when issuing licenses and identification cards under the new act.

In addition, the cards themselves will also be built using new technology, making them much more difficult to forge.

It has taken the federal government nearly 15 years to implement the act fully — a gradual process that has been met by some confusion as each state has a different status. However, all states will need to be in compliance by October 1, 2020.


What Does a REAL ID Look Like?

In most states, there is a gold or black star on the front of the license that will signify compliance. If you see this, then you’re good to go.  In Maryland, there is a black circle with a star in the middle on the front of the ID or license.


How do I know if I have a compliant or non-compliant driver’s license or ID?


What Does It Mean For Me?

Airports are considered federal facilities, and therefore this act affects your ability to enter in order to board your flight.

Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/ID or another acceptable form of identification (like a passport or passport card) for accessing federal facilities — including boarding commercial aircraft.


What the REAL ID ISN’T!

A REAL ID is NOT a substitute for a passport for international travel. There are also a few other things that REAL ID doesn’t affect.


REAL ID requirements don’t apply to:

  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • Entering federal facilities that do not require identification
  • Accessing health- or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigation


Do I Need A REAL ID?

In most instances, obtaining a REAL ID isn’t necessary. There are still many reasons why people will choose to obtain a REAL ID. Here is a breakdown of some common reasons to consider getting a REAL ID and a few reasons why you might not need one.