Don’t wait until the last minute to get your Real ID!
I went to the Bloomington, IL Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew my license and get my REAL ID. Starting October 1, 2020, adults will need either a Real ID driver’s license or a passport to fly domestically. Again, passports will be acceptable, but many Americans don’t have passports or the people that do have them don’t want to carry them on domestic trips. Plus, in the reports I’ve recently read, close to 100 million Americans have neither a Real ID nor a passport.
I, too, put it off and wanted to avoid the long lines at the DMV but my birthday is next week, and my driver’s license expired this year. So darn!!, it was time to face the reality that I had to get this done. In the mail, along with my license renewal document, I received lots of information on what I needed to take with me to get the Real ID. I arrived at the DMV at noon. I walked in and turned around and walked right back out! It was absolutely packed with people waiting everywhere! I did not have time for this! So, I ran some errands and stopped by again on my way home. This time, the line was fairly short and in 20 minutes, I had a new picture taken, had my license renewed and had successfully applied for Real ID. It was really easy!! But I did pay close attention to the list of things I needed to take with me and made sure I had everything in order before I got there.
So, the lesson I learned in completing this process is: You must follow the specifications precisely or your authenticating documents may be rejected. The DMV staff does not have much, if any, discretion to allow deviation from the rules. So, if possible, everyone should take more than the minimum number of documents required, in case one of them is rejected. Second, from the DMV’s standpoint, the process of getting a Real ID is just part of the routine process of their daily business. No apparent expedited processing has been established to facilitate people seeking a Real ID regardless of the deadline next year.
I’ve recently learned that the Department of Homeland Security is investigating an automation process to simplify the task of getting a Real ID. But the complexity of the chore suggests that even if there is a feasible technology to accomplish the task, it will take many months to complete the process of procuring, testing and initiating a new system that can be used by DMV’s in all 50 states.
Keep in mind that the congestion that typically occurs at DMVs around the country is only to get worse, likely much worse, as the deadline approaches. I urge you to be pro-active and get this process taken care of. Happy travels!