Knox Co. starting to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – If you’re wanting a gold star on your driver’s license, there’s some good news. The Knox County Clerk’s Office is beginning to issue REAL IDs this week.

The Clerk’s Office announcing they’ve completed the required training to process applications that meet new federal REAL ID laws.

By October 2020, people 18 or older wanting to fly, access federal buildings or enter nuclear facilities will need a REAL ID compliant Driver’s License or another form of acceptable ID.

REAL IDs are generally marked with a gold star on the upper portion of the card.

Barbara Haun filled out the paperwork to renew her driver’s license on Monday and one thing she’s adding, a gold star, “Sounds like it would be helpful.”

The Knox County Clerk’s Office is now able to process REAL IDs for those who are only renewing their driver’s license.

“It’s something that is very needed, like I do home health and you would have to have that ID in order to get in any facility in Oak Ridge or naval bases, wherever we’re going to take care of that person,” said Haun.

A REAL ID is another tool that ensures everyone is who they say they are.

“It’s a little harder to get than a passport. All the states are going to be REAL ID compliant, Tennessee is one of the last states to do so,” said Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt.

Obtaining a REAL ID is not required. A standard ID can still be used as general identification and for driving.

“You can either have a REAL ID or a Legacy License. If you’re not planning on flying or going into a federal building, a lot of people may just have a Legacy License.

The REAL ID Act was enacted in 2005 based on the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

Documents to bring when applying for a REAL ID:

  • Proof to establish citizenship or legal presence
  • Proof of your full Social Security Number
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency
  • Be prepared to provide documentation of any name changes that may have occurred

All documents must be originals or certified. No photocopies will be accepted. For a complete list of document options, click here.

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