It’s important for you and all Iowans to be aware of the Federal REAL ID Act. Beginning in October 2020 the federal government will require you to show a valid REAL ID driver’s license or identification card for certain activities. If you want to enter a federal facility that requires an ID to enter the perimeter of a facility, regardless of whether you actually enter a building, you will need to have a REAL ID. A good example of this would be Camp Dodge in Johnston. However, not all federal facilities will require an ID to enter. For example, you will not need a REAL ID to enter a United States Postal Office.

Other activities that will require a REAL ID include flying on commercial airlines or entering nuclear power facilities. While not many visit nuclear facilities, many do fly on commercial airlines and will need a REAL ID.  If you have a valid passport or military ID, you do not need to obtain a REAL ID, but you will need to bring your passport or military ID to the facilities mentioned above. The purpose of the REAL ID federal act is to provide a focus on anti-terrorism, fraud protection and license information security.

If you decide you need a REAL ID license or ID, you can get one at any time. If your driver’s license or ID will expire before October 1, 2020, you can just wait until it’s time to renew and do it then. If your license or ID will expire on or after October 1, 2020, you can come in to a driver’s license service centers (usually at your county courthouse) before then and get a replacement license or ID that’s marked as a REAL ID license or ID. REAL ID is not available on online renewal or at driver’s license kiosks.

As we approach the October 2020 deadline, the traffic into the driver’s license stations will grow with longer wait times. I am encouraging you to start going to the DOT service centers now and not wait until the fall of 2020. Even if your current license expires after 2020, you will still need the REAL ID for the activities mentioned above. You are required to bring several forms of identification with you including your current driver’s license, your social security card, and either a certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States, or a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. passport card. To learn more you can go online to: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/realid/real-id-home

To know if you already have a REAL ID, look for a gold star in the upper right hand corner of the license. Once you have the REAL ID, you don’t need to do anything to renew it – it is a one-time requirement to bring the documents. Once you have received a REAL ID the DOT will continue to mark your card as REAL ID compliant when you renew or replace it in the future, whether in person, online, or at a kiosk.

2 comments
  1. Just a few years ago, Iowa Republicans in the legislature were actively opposing federal REAL ID legislation as a violation of the 10th amendment, and I believe at least the House passed nullification legislation. That entire movement disappeared when Republicans got into Terrace Hill. What happened?

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