NJ is Preparing to Implement the Real ID Act. Do you need one?


Many states have implemented the Real ID Act, but just a few are still in the process of doing so. If you are not familiar with the Real Id Act, it is a law implemented by Congress to have security features on government-issued ID. The IDs include driver’s licenses and non-driver ID.

To travel domestically, you can use your ID as identification. Once the Real ID Act is fully implemented, any ID not in compliant will be rejected. What that means is you will not be allowed to board your flight. So, New Jersey like many other states is getting ready to have its IDs change by the summer of 2019.

Should you get the Real ID?

That depends. If you are a frequent flyer and use your ID to fly domestic, then you should get the new ID with the latest security features. Keep in mind, once the state has fully implemented the changes, the current IDs will become invalid at airports. However, an alternative document to use at the airport is your passport.

How to get the New Real ID

Currently, preparations are in progress at all Department of Motor Vehicle Agencies. The equipment is getting tested and ready to eliminate any mishaps that may arise. Also, the DMV is working on plans to accommodate the 6.4 million licensed drivers if most decide to make the change.

Steps you may take to get the Real ID

You can replace your current ID, expired or not, by applying at the DMV. You must provide the usual six points of identification when you apply. If your driver’s license or state ID is still valid, the cost of a replacement is $11. For those with an expired document, you will pay the full price.

Some people may be able to apply online. The DMV will inform you by mail if you are chosen to apply online. Others will need to apply in person. If you are getting an ID for the first time, you must apply in person.

How do I know if my ID is compliant?

Since 2011, New Jersey has been issuing enhanced driver’s license with over 20 overt and covert security features. The Real ID Act will implement even more security features. If you compare the old with the new, you may be able to see some changes like a star in the upper right corner. However, others are only visible if scanned.

Now, your IDs are not compliant. Once the DMV provides a definitive date of the release, you can change your document.

How will DMV help with the process?

The DMV is anticipating lines once the date is set. So, to prevent long lines and a smooth process, the agency will hire 209 full-time and 80 part-time agents. The agency will also extend the hours on weekdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm and 8 am to 3 pm on Saturdays.

The agency has also suggested the best times to go and avoid long lines. It recommends going mid-month and mid-morning or mid-afternoon. These are times when lines are shorter.


The change of a driver’s license or state-issued ID is coming whether you are ready or not. It will affect anyone who uses an ID to fly domestic. So, if you are one of these people, get the new ID. If you don’t, after September 31, 2020, your ID will have “not for Real ID purpose” printed on it. Then, you cannot use it to fly but still can for driving.

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