The Real ID driver’s license deadline has been changed several times over the past few years, and with 2021 rapidly winding down, some New Jersey residents are wondering if they will need to get a Real ID to be able to get on an airplane.

The answer, very simply, is no.

Sue Fulton, the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, said there’s no rush because the current deadline to get a Real ID driver’s license for commercial air travel or to be able to enter a federal building is now May 2023, and it’s possible it may be delayed again.

She said to get this federally approved license, when your current driver’s license comes up for renewal, “if you don’t already have a Real ID what you can do is make a license renewal appointment online, and then come in and tell them you want to get a Real ID and you can get that then.”

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People can make a renewal appointment at 24 licensing centers if they are within three months of their expiration date.

Fulton said 60,000 renewal appointments are available in the next 60 days. She added that the transaction time has improved from 20 minutes down to 14.

Because of the MVC’s change to handling many more motor vehicle issues online, the average number of transactions has gone up to over 250,000 a week, compared to 225,000 a week for several years prior.

To apply, people need two proofs of address, proof of Social Security number and 6 points of identification. More information is at

Fulton said you cannot just walk into an agency office: an appointment is required to get a Real ID.

“We don’t expect people to stop complaining about Motor Vehicles, that’s ingrained in our culture, but we’re always striving to do better and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback,” she said.

Fulton said she understands people don’t like change and “but the response from our customers has been overall very, very positive.”

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