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

The REAL ID enforcement date has been extended.

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, we’ve got important information you need to know before booking a flight: You may need to update your identification.

Here’s what you need to know. ⬇️

What is a REAL ID?

  • It’s a form of identification that meets security standards established by the REAL ID Act of 2005 — featuring a gold star.
  • Enforcement for South Carolinians will begin May 7, 2025.
  • A REAL ID is only valid for eight years.
  • Licenses or IDs that do not have a gold star will state “Not for Federal Identification” and are not compliant with REAL IDs.

You need a REAL ID if…

  • You want to board a domestic, commercial flight. Note: Unexpired US Passports will still be required for international travel, regardless of REAL ID purchase.
  • You plan to enter any federal buildings or military installations. See the military installation disclaimer here.
  • Note: Military IDs, valid US Passports, or other federal identification accepted to pass airport security may be used in lieu of changing SC ID or license to a REAL ID.

You do not need a REAL ID to…

  • Drive
  • Vote
  • Enter a hospital
  • Access federal buildings that do not require an ID
  • Apply for or get federal benefits, such as social security

How to get a REAL ID

  • Find an SCDMV near you.
  • Visit this “Sweet Caroline” application to ensure that you have the required documentation to purchase a REAL ID. Heads up: If you’ve had a legal name change, check these guidelines.
  • If your required documentation is on file with the SCDMV, you may purchase your REAL ID driver’s license online with proper documentation electronically submitted by an SC-licensed eye care professional (passing the Certificate of Vision Examination). Check your online eligibility here.