South Carolinians will have a choice when they renew their drivers licenses beginning in 2018 to either comply with federal regulations and get a Real ID, the new standard for getting through airport security and on military bases, or they can keep their old licenses.
Those who choose not to participate will see lettering across the top of their license that says “Not for federal identification,” which means no airport boarding, and no admittance to federal buildings or military bases.
But that’s not until Oct. 1, 2020, when the Real ID requirements will actually take effect, according to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Those keeping their old licenses will not have to take any action except to renew their current card as they normally would in 2018.
But for those who need the new ID for air travel, they can begin the process in January to make the switch at a local DMV office.
Numerous documents are required to obtain the Real ID, including proof of identity such as a birth certificate or U.S. Passport, plus your Social Security card, two proofs of current, physical address, and proof of all legal name changes.
Some or all of that documentation may already be on file at the DMV office. If it was not used to get your drivers license, be sure to bring it for a Real ID.
For those who decide not to get the Real ID, they can still use the identification card to drive, vote, apply for federal benefits and be admitted to a hospital.
They have until Oct. 1, 2020 to obtain a Real ID, the expiration date for current state licenses and identification cards to be used at airports and federal facilities.
Numerous states have been given extensions by the Homeland Security Department to switch systems over to the Real ID, including South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska and Minnesota.
The Real ID system was passed by Congress in 2005 as a response to failed airport security systems prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks.