What to know about REAL ID requirements

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Oct. 1 of 2020, the federally mandated REAL ID takes effect.

As a result you will need a new driver’s license if you want to fly, enter a federal building or a federal installation.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to increase security measures concerning state-issued personal ID cards, mainly driver’s licenses. Travelers will need REAL ID identification cards to board domestic flights starting Oct. 1, 2020.

A survey by the U.S. Travel Association found that if REAL ID went into effect tomorrow, almost 80,000 people trying to board a plane would be denied on Day 1.

While October may be a long way off, WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare is finding that people are already lining up for the REAL ID. As we found out, part of the problem with the REAL ID is that it does require extra documents as part of the process.

Monica Shingle is one of several Deputy Clerks who handles driver’s license registration at this busy Knox County Clerk’s office in North Knoxville.

Over the last month, clerks at the office have processed hundreds of federally mandated license applications.

In December, 680 people applied for the the REAL ID license at this office. That’s 40% of all driver’s license applications for the month.

The Tennessee REAL ID license displays a star in the top right corner.

MORE | The REAL ID will cost the same as current Tennessee licenses and IDs, according to TN Dept. of Safety & Homeland Security

“They call it the Real ID, but it is a federal ID to fly domestically, going into a federal building, going onto a military building, you have to have this on your license,” said Shingle.

At a driver service centers in Nashville, a few weeks ago people are lined up to receive their REALl ID. Recently, the state hired more employees to handle the demand.

In Knoxville, with two state driver centers and with four clerks offices, the service is speedy.

Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt says you’ll need bring several pieces of documentation with you to get the REAL ID.

‘Lots of information and each situation is unique,” Witt said. “So that’s why we say call us, ask before you come, have the right documents because everyone of these because people just have different circumstances.”

Several documents are needed to verify your residency:

  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence
  • Proof of Tennessee residence
  • Proof of your social security number

Some people return a second time to get the REAL ID license because they don’t have the proper papers.

“They will not let us deviate from those four things which is your social security card, your W-2, your 10-99. It can also be a social security 10-99. and your pay check stub. But these have to show the full social security number,” Shingle said.

The Knox County offices will process REAL ID licenses for residents from any county — but you’ll have to go to a state office if you’re coming from out of state.

“If you are a Tennessee resident and already have a Tennessee driver’s license you can come here and get it. If you do not, if you are moving here from another state, you will have to go to one of the state facilities,” Witt said.

Types of documents you can bring

To prove your citizenship, bring either:

  • a birth certificate
  • unexpired U.S. passport
  • a valid permanent residence card

If you have changed your name for marriage or divorce, bring either a marriage certificate or a divorce decree.

To prove your social security number, bring either:

  • your original social security card
  • W-2 form with the last year

To prove your address or residence, you’ll need to bring two documents:

  • a home utility bill
  • a current TN vehicle registration
  • a bank statement
  • a mortgage statement

Remember, the deadline to obtain your REAL ID is Oct. 1.

MORE | For more information on the REAL ID from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, click here.

As a reminder, you do NOT need a REAL ID to drive, vote, purchase alcohol or cigarettes, access hospitals, visit the post office, access federal courts or to apply for or receive federal benefits such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

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