Driver Licenses & ID Cards
The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 sets new standards for the issuance of driver licenses and identification cards.
The REAL ID Act became effective nationwide on May 11, 2008. Florida began issuing REAL ID compliant credentials after January 1, 2010. The new credentials have a star in the upper right corner of the card, as shown in the sample license example on the right. Because Florida is a REAL ID compliant state, all Florida licenses should be accepted nationwide.
The Department of Homeland Security announced on December 20, 2013, that enforcement of REAL ID credentials will begin in a measured, fair and responsible way. Floridians will first see enforcement at nuclear power plants and restricted areas of certain federal facilities. Enforcement at airports across the country will not begin until October 1, 2020. The chart below summarizes the four phases of enforcement.
|Phase 1||Restricted areas (i.e., areas accessible by agency personnel, contractors, and their guests) for DHS headquarters in Washington.||April 21, 2014|
|Phase 2||Restricted areas for all Federal facilities and nuclear power plants.||July 21, 2014|
|Phase 3||Semi-restricted areas (i.e., areas available to the general public but subject to ID-based access control) for most Federal facilities.|
|3a. Federal Security Levels 1 and 2||January 19, 2015|
|3b. Federal Security Levels 3, 4, and 5, and military facilities||October 10, 2015|
|Phase 4||Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. A driver's license or identification card from a noncompliant state may only be used in conjunction with a second form of ID for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.||October 1, 2020|
For additional information regarding the REAL ID Act or its enforcement please visit the Department of Homeland Security.
REAL ID Act – Frequently Asked Questions
What is REAL ID?
REAL ID is a nationwide effort to improve the integrity and security of State-issued driver licenses and identification cards, which in turn will help fight terrorism and reduce identity fraud.
Does Florida issue REAL ID licenses and ID cards?
Yes, Florida began issuing REAL ID licenses and ID cards on January 4, 2010.
What documents do I need to bring with me when I apply for a REAL ID compliant license or ID card?
You will need to bring one of the following primary documents to establish your identity, proof of legal residence and date of birth: For a detailed list of required items, click here.
For U.S. Citizens:
- Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
- Original or Certified copy of a birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS
- Certificate of Citizenship
- For cases where the current name and the name on the primary identity document are different, you should also bring:
- Court ordered name change document
- Marriage certificate, issued by the courts and/or
- Divorce decree, issued by the courts
In all cases, the document must show a clear trail of name changes originating with the birth name to the current name. For more detailed information on the required identity documents, click here.
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents
- Valid Passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees
- Other government issued document showing your full name
- Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence
- If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) documents.
Both Citizens and Non-Citizens will need to bring:
Will I still be able to continue to renew my license online?
You are allowed to renew one time by a convenience method (Internet or mail). Your next renewal must then be in a driver license office. For example, if you renewed your license online in March 2011, you will need to visit a driver license office for your next renewal.
Will I be able to have both a REAL ID driver license and a REAL ID identification card?
No, the final Rule specifies that each individual can only hold a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card, but not both simultaneously. If you currently hold both, one will be cancelled during your next card issuance.
After Florida begins issuing REAL ID licenses and ID cards, can I get mine before the expiration date on my current license or ID card?
Yes, a Class E license can be renewed up to 18 months prior to the card’s expiration date.