⚫ Soon, a standard license won't get you on a domestic flight

⚫ You'll need to make an in-person visit in order to update your license

⚫ Switching to REAL ID isn't mandatory

It's looking like this enforcement date will actually stick.

We're less than a year out from the date on which the federal government will stop accepting your standard driver license or state-issued identification as proper documentation when you want to board a domestic flight or enter a federal facility.

Starting May 7, 2025, a REAL ID will be the only type of license accepted.

It was announced in late 2022 that the planned May 2023 enforcement date would be pushed back by two years. The original deadline was October 2020; there was a handful of delays due to circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want people to be aware of this federal deadline. As of right now, we have no indication that's going to be delayed," said William Connolly, spokesperson for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

So far, NJMVC has issued about 850,000 REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs. They're marked with a star in the upper-right corner.

NJMVC website
NJMVC website

It's not clear how many eligible New Jersey residents will want or need to get a REAL ID. A passport will still work as documentation for all flights, as well as for entering a federal facility. And a standard license will still be fine for operating a vehicle.

Officials just want residents to be ready for the enforcement date, and they'd like to avoid a rush leading up to it.

"If you typically use your license to board a domestic flight, you'll probably want a REAL ID," Connolly said.

How to get a REAL ID

If you're interested in making the shift, ideally you'll get it done when your license is up for renewal.

Either way, to get the ball rolling, you'll need to make an appointment at a licensing center for an in-person visit.

To prove you are who you say you are, you'll need two proofs of your address (such as a utility bill or credit card statement), a verifiable Social Security number, and the standard 6 points of ID. Use this link to learn more.

Following the completion of the transaction, customers can expect to receive their REAL ID license/ID in the mail within two weeks, NJMVC said. New Jersey licenses and IDs are sent by first-class mail from a secure facility.

The cost is $35. A standard license costs $24.

Individuals can still apply for a REAL ID following the May 7, 2025 enforcement date.

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