Driver's License Up For Renewal? Be Prepared

License Plates with U.S. Constitution Preamble

License Plates with U.S. Constitution Preamble

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If your driver's license has come up for renewal, you may have been blindsided by the new ID requirements being requested by states.

Adding to the confusion are the terms 'Real ID' and 'Enhanced Driver's License (EDL).'

The EDL is a driver's license that conforms to the ID requirements of the Real ID legislation therefore making it complaint with the act. Only four states have issued EDL's Washington, New York, Vermont and Michigan. Because you must present proof of citizenship to obtain this type of driver's license, it may serve as a means to pass into Canada and Mexico under certain conditions.

The Real ID Act of 2005 has been the subject of controversy and delay from its outset. The Real IDs will eventually be issued to all citizens and legal immigrants depending on their date of birth. The cards will be necessary to transact business with the federal government, which includes TSA screenings. If your birth date is on or after December 1, 1964 the deadline for RealID is December 1, 2014 while those whose birth date is before December 1, 1964 have until December 1, 2017.

So what is happening now? States are in a transitional stage as they gear up for Real ID and the requirement to be compliant. The process will become evident when you are called in for the renewal of your driver's license, which in the past consisted of an eye test and a current photo.

There are four areas for which you will need official documentation: citizenship; social security enrollment; address and name change if applicable. Various forms are acceptable for each status requirement. You should check with your DMV office for the proof needed in your state. Hint - a copy of your birth certificate is only valid if it is a certified copy distinguishable by the raised seal of the issuing state.

Deadlines have arrived and been pushed back a number of times for Real ID. There also have been attempts to repeal the law, but it won't really matter to drivers as the states hedge their bets and revamp the way they issue their licenses, just in case the law survives.

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