A REAL ID is a step up from your average license. A REAL ID is a federal form of identification, meaning it is recognized as a form of identification at both the state and federal level. This means you can use your REAL ID as identification at the airport and other federal facilities. Because it has a higher level of clearance, REAL ID requirements are also more stringent.

To apply for a REAL ID, you will need more identifying legal documents than you would when applying for a standard driver’s license or ID card. Continue reading below to learn about the documents you will need in order to apply for a REAL ID.

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What is A REAL ID?

REAL ID documents include a valid US passport, proof of Social Security and even proof of your legal name change from the Social Security Administration if your legal name has changed since birth due to marriage, divorce or other reasons (supporting documents such as a marriage certificate may also be required). 

You will also need extensive proof of your legal residency and multiple documents that prove your address, such as W-2 forms or bills. 

For the most part, you will be required to apply for a REAL ID in person at a local DMV so that a DMV worker can prove your identity in person. 

However, some states have made it possible to upgrade your standard license or ID card into an ID card online when you renew your license if they already have the necessary proofs and documents on file. 

By October, 2021, all state residents will be required to present a REAL ID as proof of identification when entering a federal facility or boarding a plane, so it is important to upgrade to a REAL ID soon if you have not already. 

Updated on 05/23/2022