Real IDs: Do I Need One? How Do I Get One?

Posted on November 21, 2019 by admin


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According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), beginning on October 1, 2020, the U.S. Federal Government will require anyone boarding an airplane for domestic travel or entering certain federal buildings to have a “verified” driver’s license, state-issued ID card, or show additional proof of identification, such as a passport. This verification is indicated on your license or ID card by a gold star in the top right corner and is commonly referred to as a “Real ID.”

With this deadline approaching in a little less than a year’s time, I want to share some information that will answer some frequently asked questions about how and when to get this ID.

You need a Real ID if:

  • You do not have a valid U.S. passport, passport card or Global Entry card; AND
  • You use airplanes as a mode of domestic transportation; or
  • You visit military bases; or
  • You visit secure federal facilities.

You do not need a Real ID if:

  • You have a valid U.S. passport or passport card;
  • You do not use airplanes as a mode of domestic transportation;
  • You do not visit military bases;
  • You do not visit secure federal facilities.

Please note that customers with a “Drive Only” license are not eligible for a Real ID license.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents applying for a license or ID for the first time in Connecticut (for example new drivers or people moving here) are required to apply for a Real ID (if they qualify) at a full-service DMV office. If you already have a Connecticut license or ID card, getting your identity verified through DMV is optional.

The verification process is a one-time check, therefore if you have the gold star you are all set and meet federal standards.

To apply for a REAL ID, you can visit any DMV office or partner office like DMV Express (see the full list of locations here). Please bring your required documents, including your U.S. Passport or U.S. birth certificate, Social Security card, and two pieces of mail (from 2 different sources and date stamped within 90 days) to prove that you live in Connecticut.

If you are not due for renewal, but would still like to obtain a Real ID, you can convert your license or ID for a $30 duplicate fee.

It may take approximately two weeks to receive your Real ID in the mail, so if you have any travel plans, a learner’s permit, a license that is expiring, or are getting married, etc. immediately after or around October 2020, I recommend that you start this process in advance.