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REAL ID is coming; are you ready?

Passenger boarding an airplane [Adobe Stock photo]

In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Admittedly, it took years for those standards to be defined and Missouri managed to postpone compliance several times through deadline extensions but now the time has come.

By Oct. 1, 2020, Missouri residents who plan to access federal facilities or board federally regulated commercial aircraft will be required to have what is known as a REAL ID. The only alternative is a valid U.S. passport, which is not the most convenient of documents to carry around.

Obtaining a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card is a relatively simple process, though it does take a bit of preparation. Before heading to a licensing agency, you’ll need to gather the following documentation confirming your:

• Identity. One acceptable document to verify your full legal name and date of birth is required. The most common documents in this category are a valid, unexpired U.S. passport; valid, unexpired U.S. passport card; certified U.S. birth certificate; U.S. birth abroad certificate of naturalization; or certificate of citizenship. If your name has changed since the issuance of the document you choose to use for establishing identity, additional documentation will be required. For example, if a married woman whose legal name has changed is using her birth certificate as proof of identity, she also will be required to present a certified copy of her marriage license. Likewise, a woman whose legal name has changed as the result of divorce or annulment may need to present a certified copy of her divorce decree or decree of annulment. Other forms of documentation in this category include an original, amended birth certificate issued and certified [with raised seal] by the state office of vital statistics; a court order under petition for name change or a court order for name change in a decree of adoption – both court orders must include your prior full legal name, your court-ordered full legal name and your date of birth, and be stamped with the official court seal. Date stamps and file stamps are not the official court seal.

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, you do not have to document all the names you may have previously used, as long as the documents you provide clearly connect the identity document to your current, full legal name.

• Lawful status in the United States. One acceptable document to verify lawful status is required. The most common documents in this category are the same as those recommended for establishing identity.

• Social Security number. One acceptable document to verify your Social Security number is required. The most common documents in this category are a signed and non-laminated Social Security card; a W-2 form; an SSA-1099 form; a Non-SSA-1099 form or a pay stub imprinted with the applicant’s name and Social Security number.

• Missouri residency. Two acceptable documents to verify Missouri residency are required. The most common documents in this category are a utility bill; voter registration card; bank statement; government check or pay check; property tax receipt; mortgage, housing, or leasing document; homeowner’s insurance policy; auto insurance policy or card; W-2 or 1099 form; Safe At Home card; driver’s license renewal post card; motor vehicle renewal post card; or an education transcript for current school year from an educational institution in Missouri. These documents must include your legal name and current address. All document must be the most recently issued version, unless otherwise specified, and should be presented in paper format. If you have an alternate mailing address an additional document from this list must be presented to verify that mailing address.

To help you get the paperwork right before you head to the licensing agency, check out the interactive guide at www.dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-guide.

When applying for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, it’s important to plan ahead. Processing and mailing typically takes 10 to 15 days.

The transaction and processing fees for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, new or renewal, will be the same as they are currently. For a Class F license, the most common form, the fees are $13.50 for a three-year license or $27 for a six-year renewal.

Missouri law allows for a one-time waiver of the duplicate transaction fee for persons who have who recently renewed their license but not been issued a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card. License office processing fees, however, will not be waived and are $6 for a three-year renewal or $12 for a six-year renewal. Personal information may be changed as part of the duplicate, one-time waiver transaction; however, the one-time waiver will not apply if the applicant is applying for a different class of licensure or adding any endorsements or restrictions.

As the process of phasing in the REAL ID Act, some have raised concerns about the collection of personal data; however, the Department of Homeland Security states: “REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our [the nation’s] identity documents more consistent and secure.”

A REAL ID-compliant driver’s license is not needed for driving, voting or registering to vote, state purposes, age verification or if you hold another form of identification that meets federal requirements, such as a valid U.S. passport or passport card. The cost to acquire a U.S. passport begins at $110 and, for adults over age 16, has a valid life of 10 years.

To learn more about REAL ID, visit dor.mo.gov. To learn more about obtaining a U.S. passport, visit travel.state.gov.

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