Florida drivers should ensure they are REAL ID compliant

Terry Rhodes

In the upper right-hand corner of your driver license or ID card, you should see a gold star. I encourage you to take a moment to check. More than 91 percent of almost 16.5 million Florida driver license and ID card holders, including every credential holder under the age of 21, will see it: the gold star. It’s the sign that your credential is REAL ID compliant.

Why does this matter? How does this apply to you? After Oct. 1, 2020, if you are one of the currently nine percent of all Floridians who do not have the gold star, you will need more than just a driver license to prove your identity to board a commercial airline.

This driver’s license displays the star.

The REAL ID Act is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security effort to apply consistent security measures and issuance standards across all state-issued credentials as a vital component of the country’s national security framework. The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued credentials and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes credentials that do not meet these standards. While REAL ID has been enforced in stages, after October 1, 2020, customers will experience a very real impact as the federal government will no longer accept a driver license or ID card without the gold star as the sole source of identification.

The REAL ID deadline is fast approaching and compliance numbers in Florida increase daily. Listed below are REAL ID compliance numbers as of September 10, 2019, in your area.

How can you become REAL ID compliant?

Florida is a nationwide leader in the effort toward REAL ID compliance and was one of the first states to begin issuing REAL ID compliant credentials. Since January 1, 2010, any new credential issued at an office in Florida has the gold star.

To become REAL ID compliant, visit an office and bring original documents which validate your identity, Social Security Number and residential address. Once you provide the required identification documents, you will only need to provide them again if your information changes. If you do not have the gold star, you cannot become REAL ID compliant by renewing online.

Check to see which documents you need to bring into an office to become REAL ID compliant at www.FLHSMV.gov/whattobring. This webpage provides a helpful checklist based on the customer.

If you need clarification on documents to bring, make an appointment to visit an office (www.flhsmv.gov/locations) or call the FLHSMV customer service line at (850) 617-2000.

FLHSMV is committed to issuing safe and secure credentials, guaranteeing our customers are provided a reliable form of identification nationwide. If you do not have the gold star, take action today. Avoid the rush, plan ahead and be prepared.

Terry L. Rhodes is the executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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