Coronavirus gives residents extra year to get REAL ID

3 mins read

From staff reports

Thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, South Carolina residents have an extra year to obtain their REAL I’d.

On March 26, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would extend the enforcement date of the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005 from Oct. 1, 2020 to Oct. 1, 2021.

“I’m pleased to see DHS made this necessary decision in light of current events impacting our state and nation related to COVID-19,” South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) Executive Director Kevin Shwedo said in a release. “This extension gives South Carolinians additional time and further ensures wait times at SCDMV offices remain low versus growing to four or six hours like we have been anticipating.”

To date, the SCDMV has issued more than 1.2 million REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of SCDMVonline.com to see if they’re eligible to purchase their REAL ID license from home. 

There are still 350,000 people eligible to buy their REAL ID license online because all of their documents are already on file. We encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity.

The SCDMV’s Sweet Caroline tool reminds South Carolinians that photocopies, notarized photocopies, and non-government-issued copies are not accepted. The only exception to this is proof of address documents. Documents needed to buy a REAL ID include all of the following:

Proof of identity (Government-issued birth certificate or valid U.S. Passport)

Proof of Social Security number

Two proofs of current physical S.C. address

Proof of all legal name changes

This fall it will become more difficult for South Carolinians to purchase their REAL ID licenses online. South Carolina Act No. 220 of 2018, which takes effect in October, requires a vision screening to renew a driver’s license. South Carolinians who want to take advantage of online purchasing must have a vision screening on file with the SCDMV, submitted via an electronic portal by their eye care professional, to purchase a REAL ID license online.

As of Oct. 1, 2021, you must have a REAL ID to board a domestic, commercial flight, enter a secure federal building, or visit a military installation unless you have a valid U.S. Passport, military ID, or another accepted form of federal identification.

A regular REAL ID license is $25. Before visiting an SCDMV branch, visit SCDMVOnline.com to see the wait times at all 66 branches statewide.

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