Frequently Asked Questions

What is REAL ID?

REAL ID is the new federal requirement for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification.

Do I need a REAL ID?
Why do I need a REAL ID?
Is everyone required to get a REAL ID?

You are not required to get a REAL ID; however, starting October 1, 2020, if you typically use your driver license or non-driver ID (instead of a passport or other form of ID) to fly within the U.S. you probably want a REAL ID. Otherwise you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. The Standard New Jersey driver license can still be used for driving.

Who should get a REAL ID?

REAL IDs are best for those who typically use their driver license or non-driver ID (instead of a passport or other forms of ID) to fly within the U.S.

When will NJ have REAL ID?
When can I get my REAL ID?
When should I get my REAL ID?

We will be beta-testing REAL ID at various locations throughout the summer and early fall. If you’d like to be notified when an agency near you starts offering REAL ID, sign up at REALIDNJ.com, and you may be one of the first people in your area to get your REAL ID.

Can I change my current driver license or non-driver ID to a REAL ID?

Yes. You can get a REAL ID driver license or non-driver ID prior to the expiration of your current driver license or ID by visiting any New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Agency. There will be an $11.00 change fee. If you wait until your current license/ID expires, you will pay only the regular renewal fee. This REAL ID driver license or ID will expire upon your current expiration date. Sign up to be notified when the agency nearest you starts issuing REAL ID.

What should I do if my current driver license or non-driver ID expires after September 30, 2020?

If your current driver license or non-driver ID expires after September 30, 2020, you can wait until renewal time, but you’ll need to use a passport or another federally approved form of identification to fly within the U.S. in the interim. Or, if you want to get your REAL ID sooner sign up here and we will email you when an agency near you starts offering REAL ID.

What is the difference between a REAL ID driver license or non-driver ID and a Standard driver license or non-driver ID?

The major difference is that a Standard driver license or non-driver ID will no longer be accepted as identification to fly within the U.S. after September 30, 2020. The REAL ID looks like your traditional New Jersey driver license or ID, but with a star in the upper right corner. The Standard driver license or ID looks similar, but instead of a star, it will have the words NOT FOR “REAL ID” PURPOSES printed on it. Both the REAL ID driver license and the Standard driver license are valid for driving.

Will a REAL ID driver license or non-driver ID look different than a Standard driver license or non-driver ID?
How do I know I have a REAL ID?

The REAL ID driver license or non-driver ID looks like a traditional New Jersey driver license or non-driver ID, but with a star in the upper right corner. The Standard driver license or ID looks similar, but instead of a star, it will have the words NOT FOR “REAL ID” PURPOSES printed on it.

What do I need to bring to the Motor Vehicle Commission agency to get a REAL ID?
What documents do I need to bring to the Motor Vehicle Commission agency to get a REAL ID?
What documents do I need to get a REAL ID?

People are probably familiar with what they currently need to provide at the Motor Vehicle Commission agency as proof of identification for a Standard ID. They need to have a verifiable Social Security Number, they need to provide 1 document as proof of address and they need to provide identity documents that add up to 6 points according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission guidelines.

For REAL ID there is going to be some New Math happening at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission!

2 + 1 + 6 = REAL ID

What does this mean? It means you will need to bring the following with you to get a REAL ID:

  • 2 documents as proof of your address

  • 1 document as proof of your Social Security Number

  • Identity documents that add up to 6 REAL ID* points

You can use this document selector tool

*Point values are different for a REAL ID vs. a Standard ID

Why are you scanning and storing my information?

It is a federal requirement for security purposes that we scan the documents and keep them securely stored in an encrypted format.

Is my information shared with the federal government?

Yes. Your identification documents will be verified and, under certain circumstances, shared with the federal government. You can find out more by visiting the website DHS website.

How do I get a REAL ID?

To get your first REAL ID driver license or non-driver ID, you will need to get an appointment at a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agency. Sign up here and we will email you when an agency near you starts offering REAL ID.

Will there be long lines at the MVC agency?
What is the best time to visit a MVC agency?
Can I take care of any transactions online?

You can only get a REAL ID license or non-driver ID by appointment, at a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) agency. Sign up here and we will email you when an agency near you starts offering REAL ID.
Meanwhile, the NJMVC is working hard to shorten lines at the agency. We have added more online services, so drivers don’t have to visit an agency for certain transactions, such as renewing a Standard driver license or non-driver ID – so check realidnj.com to see if you can “Skip the Trip” to Motor Vehicle. We have added hundreds of staff so that we can serve you as quickly as possible at the agency. Finally, for all walk-in transactions, we recommend you "meet us in the middle”: visit a NJMVC agency during the middle of the month, ideally the middle of the morning or the middle of the afternoon, when lines are shortest.

Can your REAL ID act as your driver license?

Yes, a REAL ID driver license is a recognized driver license.

What’s the earliest age you’ll need a REAL ID?

By federal law, people who are 18 and older after September 30, 2020, will need a REAL ID to fly within the U.S. if you do not have a valid passport to use. More information can be found on the federal DHS website.

Will my current driver license or non-driver ID be acceptable as identification to fly within the U.S.?

Only through September 30, 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, if you typically use your driver license or non-driver ID (instead of a passport or other form of ID) to fly within the U.S., you probably want a REAL ID. Otherwise you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. The Standard New Jersey driver license can still be used for driving.

Will REAL ID cost more than a Standard ID?

No. However, there will be an $11 fee associated with changing your Standard NJ driver license or non-driver ID to a REAL ID if not done at renewal.

What if I lost my New Jersey REAL ID?

If you have been issued a REAL ID, and it was lost, you can only get a replacement by going to the Motor Vehicle agency where you were issued the REAL ID. At the check-in desk, tell them you were issued a REAL ID at this location, and now require a replacement.

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