July 12, 2024
Annapolis, US 75 F

REAL ID Compliance is no joke, check your Maryland license or ID card now

In the wake of 911, the Federal Government established the REAL ID Act which made it a priority that individual states verify the identity of their residents. Since most people will drive or have a state issued ID card, the logical vehicle to implement this is through the Motor Vehicle Administration.  Your existing license may be compliant, but more likely than no, it is not.

So what happens with a non-compliant license? You will be turned away at any TSA checkpoint in airports across the country (if you have a passport, you should be OK), you will not be allowed to enter any federal buildings, military bases or nuclear facilities.

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

Compliance is mandatory by October 2020 and Maryland is working to make sure all licensed and ID holding residents are up to date. Currently there are about 4.5 million drivers in Maryland and only 1.8 million of them are compliant. So here’s the problem.

With only 24 locations in Maryland, and only 22 months to go the math says that each MVA location will need to serve 112,500 people just on compliance. That is about 225 additional people per day.  It is safe to say that the MVA has the potential to be overwhelmed over the next 22 months.

There is hope!

Having just completed the process, I can say that completing as much online in advance is the way to go. You will need to bring in ORIGINALS that prove your identity, your social security  number and your residence. Generally speaking, these will do the trick.


  • Birth Certificate (original or certified copy)
  • Passport (Valid)


  • Social Security Card (Original)
  • W-2 with full social security number


  • Mortgage Statement or lease
  • Bank Statement
  • Insurance Card
  • Property Tax Bill
  • Utility Bill
  • Vehicle Registration

To be clear, there are other forms of identification that are acceptable, but these are generally the easiest accessible.

You do need to bring these documents into the MVA and here’s where I suggest you go online. I made an online appointment with the MVA for 10:30am and was literally in and out in under 10 minutes. It may take a while to get an appointment, but it will not take your entire day to do it.  Additionally, the MVA agents that are handling this have been trained and know what they are doing. No more of that “oh I know we told you to bring this document, but I decided I want another one instead.”  Yes it is a hassle, but it is one that is mandated by Federal law. Bit the bullet and do it now.

Here is your step-by-step.

Once you present your documents to the agent, they will verify them and scan them into the MVA system and then your license will be updated in the bar coding as compliant.

The process is a hassle, but as simple as it can be and the MVA has done a good job preparing for it. Right now, the delays are not too bad, but as time goes on, they will get worse. My advice–go now.


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