Everything you need to know about South Carolina’s Real IDs

That new gold star is what distinguishes a Real ID

That new gold star is what distinguishes a Real ID // Photo via Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)

Table of Contents

If you’re planning a trip for next fall, we’ve got important information you need to know before booking a flight: you may need to get new identification.

Here’s what you need to know. ⬇️

What is a Real ID?

It’s a new form of identification that meets security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005.
It’s also called a “gold star” ID because the identification has a gold star.
Congress set the Real ID standard after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Enforcement for South Carolinians will begin fall 2020.
The IDs are “a vital component of our national security framework,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

You need a Real ID if…

You want to board a federally regulated commercial aircraft. So, basically, if you have plans to fly, you probably want to get the gold star.
You are going to enter any federal buildings or nuclear facilities. For example, if you plan to visit any of these federal buildings.

You do not need a Real ID to…

Drive.
Vote.
Buy alcohol or cigarettes.
Access hospitals, the post office or federal court buildings.
Apply for or get federal benefits, such as social security.

How to get a Real ID

Visit an SCDMV near you. No appointment needed. But it is recommended that you check the wait times at branches before leaving home.
Bring the needed documentation to prove citizenship, social security number and residency. The state’s website outlines the list of documents needed here. Pro tip: If you’re married and changed your name, you will need to bring a copy of your marriage license, even if your married name is on your current license. Both myself and my mom learned that one the hard way.

Other details + resources

Other forms of identification are acceptable until Oct. 1, 2020.
After you apply for a Real ID, you’ll get an interim paper document and a hard copy will be sent in the mail within 10-20 days. If you’re flying, TSA may not accept the interim paper document.
If you have a passport or other TSA approved identification, it can be used in place of a Real ID for air travel.
Most other states have already made this change or are in the process of doing so.
○ For most people getting a real I.D. (a.k.a. updating your regular driver’s license to a Real ID), the cost is $25.
○ You may be eligible to buy your Real ID online. Click here to see if you meet the requirements to buy online.
The SCDMV continuously releases info on the status of REAL ID. Follow them at @SC_DMV or South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. You can email questions here.

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