What is a Maryland REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act passed in 2005, establishing stricter security measures for issuing federally accepted identification cards. Beginning on October 1, 2021, you’ll need a passport or REAL ID to:
- Board a commercial plane (even for domestic flights).
- Enter a nuclear power plant.
- Enter many federal facilities.
Unfortunately, when Maryland began issuing REAL IDs, the process did not meet the updated standards of the federal government. This means that even if your Maryland driver’s license or ID displays a star in the upper right corner, it may not be REAL ID compliant. The Motor Vehicle Administration has mailed thousands of letters notifying customers that they must submit additional documents to satisfy the updated requirements.
Not sure if your MD ID is REAL ID compliant? Enter the license or ID number in the MVA’s lookup tool to find out.
If your Maryland license has been recalled, you’re still legally allowed to drive. However, if you’re pulled over after the enforcement date, the officer will confiscate your card and you’ll have to submit documents to be issued your REAL ID.
If your current license is not REAL ID compliant and expires:
- BEFORE October 1, 2021, you can renew your license as early as 6 months before it expires.
- AFTER October 1, 2021, you can wait until the card expires to apply for your REAL ID if you choose. However, this card will NOT qualify as a federally accepted ID after October 1, 2021 (you can’t use it to board a plane, etc.) Upgrade your ID for a $20 fee.
To apply for a Maryland REAL ID, you’ll need to visit your local MVA office. If you are a Maryland resident currently serving in the military out-of-state, email [email protected] to request assistance.
Apply for a REAL ID in Maryland
If you need to submit documents to convert your Maryland ID or license to a REAL ID, the best way is to schedule an appointment in advance.
Before you make your visit, be sure to gather the necessary documents. At your local MVA office, provide*:
- Proof of identity (1 document). This may include your:
- Valid U.S. passport.
- Original U.S. birth certificate or certified copy.
- Certificate of U.S. Naturalization.
- Adoption records.
- Proof of social security (1 document). This may include your:
- Social security card.
- 1099 or W-2 tax form displaying your full name and social security number (SSN).
- Pay stub that displays your name and SSN (must be from within the last 3 months).
- Proof of Maryland residency (2 documents). These items may include a:
- Maryland vehicle registration or title.
- Mortgage statement or rental agreement.
- Copy of your MD or federal income tax return filing.
- Credit card statement.
- Payment for the license or upgrade fee (if applicable).
*The MVA website has a complete list of acceptable documents. Note that if your name does not match these items you’ll have to provide legal proof of your name change (e.g. a marriage certificate).
Maryland REAL ID Fees
- REAL ID upgrade fee: $20. If you apply for a REAL ID when you renew your ID or license, this fee will not apply.
- New license fee: $9 per year*.
- State ID (new or renewal):
- Under 18 years old: $15.
- 18 years old and older: $24.
- 65 years old or older: No fee.
- Driver’s license renewal: $6 per year*.
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) renewal or conversion: $50. CDLs are valid for a maximum of 5 years.
*Maryland IDs and non-commercial driver’s licenses may be prorated per year. If you are 21 years old or older, your ID will be valid for 5-8 years (expiration year is randomly generated). For example, if you renew your license and your new license expires in 8 years, your fee will be $48.