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REAL ID in SC: Do you need to have it?

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COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Later this month, South Carolina residents interested in getting a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, can start bringing their identity documents to Department of Motor Vehicles offices across the state.

Officials say REAL ID cards won't be available for at least six months, but, if you provide the proper documentation now, you may be able to order a REAL ID in the future.

Last month, Gov. Henry McMaster signed a law allowing South Carolinians to obtain the REAL ID card, which meets federal identification requirements for boarding a plane or getting onto a military base.

That law reverses the state's decade-long refusal to comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. For years, lawmakers in this state and around the country, had refused to fall in line with the mandate from Congress to create a federally-approved form of identification deemed to be difficult to forge.

Obtaining that new form of ID is an option. It is not mandatory. An up-to-date passport will still meet the federal standards for identification.

Following McMaster's April 5 signature, Homeland Security granted South Carolina an extension from REAL ID enforcement. Officials hope the federal agency certifies South Carolina as fully compliant before the extension expires in October.

The Department of Motor Vehicles says that would give South Carolinians until October 2020 before a REAL ID license is needed to show at military bases, airports or secure federal facilities.


Beginning Monday, May 15, residents interested in getting a REAL ID-compliant license or ID, in the future, or an original beginner's permit, license, or ID should bring all of the following types of documents with them:

- Two forms of proof of current SC address

Examples: No more than three-month-old pay stub with your name and address and a no more than three-month-old water bill with your name and address

These two proofs cannot come from the same category, such as a water bill from April and a water bill from March.

- Proof of US Citizenship, identity, date of birth

Examples: Original or government-issued copy of your birth certificate or valid US Passport/US Passport Card

- Proof of Social Security number

Examples: Social security card or W-2 Form with your name, your employer's name, and your social security number on it.

- Documents supporting legal name change

Examples: Marriage License, Divorce Decree, or Court Order issued by your county's family court

You must show a complete name change history, so bring all documents that prove name changes from birth to present. If you have a US Passport/Passport Card with your legal name, you may use this in place of your name change documents.


You do NOT need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID to do any of the following:

- Drive

- Vote

- Apply for or receive federal benefits for which you're entitled (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)

- Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (i.e. a post office)

- Access a hospital or receive life-saving services

- Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)



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