March 28, 2023
Annapolis, US 53 F

REPOST: REAL ID Compliance causing massive delays at MVA

REPOST: We have heard reports of 4 to 5 hour waits at some MVA locations to comply with the REAL ID requirements. Below are the steps needed to take to be sure you are in compliance. Failure to comply may prevent you from flying on a commercial aircraft, entering any Federal building and other restrictions. To mitigate the lines….MAKE AN APPOINTMENT which are currently running about two months out. While October 2020 seems like a long way off, consider that there are approximately 4.5 million drivers in Maryland with only 19 locations to handle this transaction. It cannot be handled by mail or kiosk or through an independent agent.

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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