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Out with the Old, In with the New: REAL ID

Posted by: Jauntavia Prather on Thursday, February 13, 2020

The REAL I.D. Act will soon bring major changes to the way South Carolina residents travel and access federal installations. For residents seeking entrance to military bases, federal buildings requiring identification, and air travel, they will need to obtain a REAL I.D., issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Kevin Shwedo, Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, estimates that there are 4.5 million residents in possession of driver’s licenses and I.D.’s that will be effected.

While this modification does effect travel for some, it does not change the identification requirements for residents to vote, apply for federal benefits, drive, or access federal buildings that do not require identification. Additionally, an individual does not need the new REAL I.D. if they are under the age of 18, only need an I.D. for the purpose of identification, or don’t mind travelling with a TSA-approved I.D. (such as a passport) when flying after October 1, 2020. 

The REAL I.D. Act of 2005 is a security measure passed as a response to the 9/11 attacks; composed of increased security measures to ensure terrorists are not able to obtain a valid I.D.. In the interest of limited federal government, the South Carolina Legislature passed a 2007 bill that notified the Department of Homeland Security that it would not comply with the parameters set forth in the REAL I.D. Act, but instead adopt comparable measures of security to satisfy the need for increased security. In 2008, The Department of Homeland Security reduced costs and issued an extension on the deadline for states to follow the regulation.  

By the Numbers

The South Carolina Legislature adopted 39 of the 47 original guidelines after originally deciding the state would not fully comply with the regulations in 2007.

The last day for South Carolina residents to use their driver’s license to access airplanes and federal installations is September 30, 2020.

Shwedo anticipates the switch to cost around $26 million for South Carolina. This cost covers the increased security of DMV software and resources needed to issue the new I.D.’s.

What documents are needed to obtain a REAL ID?

A birth certificate or passport, social security card, two proofs of current physical address (a current unexpired license or I.D. and a bank statement no older than 90 days old with the same name and address), and proof of all legal name changes (marriage license or court order issued by your county’s family court). Only original copies will be accepted, no copies.  

In other states that have adopted the REAL I.D., DMV wait times have been seen to reach times of up to an excess of six hours. Shwedo urges residents to be proactive and obtain a REAL ID from a South Carolina DMV before the anticipated wait times surge far beyond the average eight-minute wait.

To minimize wait times, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles is offering an online option for obtaining your REAL I.D., however, not everyone is eligible for purchasing one online. To see if you are eligible, you will have to answer a few questions on the SCDMV website. If you are eligible, you will be given the option to buy your REAL I.D. online and complete the transaction.

To obtain a REAL I.D., the cost is $25.00 (plus applicable online service fees and taxes) both in person and online.

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