Streamlining a Visit to the DMV
As cited on the TSA website, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for obtaining the REAL ID enhanced driver’s license to May 7, 2025. After that date, persons without an updated driver’s license will be prevented from passing through airport TSA checkpoints to board a flight.
There is an advantage to renewing a license ahead of the deadline. Persons choosing to renew prior to the expiration of their current driver’s license can renew for an extended period, thus eliminating the need to revisit the DMV for several years. I recently renewed and will not need to head back for a long time!
There are a few things to do prior to a DMV visit, which will save you time and frustration, and which will prevent the need to return for another appointment.
- Visit the DMV website and review the list of required documents you will need to bring to the DMV on the day of your visit. You’ll need to bring several documents which you may need to obtain or find. For the visit, I needed to bring an original birth certificate, an original social security card, a current utility bill, a current bank statement, and my current, unexpired driver’s license. It’s important to note that copies of a birth certificate, and copies of a social security card are not acceptable and will be rejected by the DMV.
- I needed to obtain my original birth certificate prior to the DMV visit and was able to obtain one online. It’s best to consult your state’s requirements for information on fees and where to send a request. Not every state has upgraded to a user-friendly online service but will at the very least provide the information on where to send a request, and an expected time of response. I was informed my request would take 7 -10 business days to process, but I received a response in 5 days.
- The DMV in my state requires an online request for an appointment, no walk-ins permitted. It’s a good idea to check your state’s requirements before heading over. Making an appointment online takes a moment and I was seen within a few minutes of my appointment time.
- If possible, go online to the DMV website for your state to download, print, and fill out the driver’s license renewal form prior to your appointment. I was able to fill out and save a pdf of a completed form, which I brought to the DMV. The DMV clerk will review your responses and request your signature in person, so it’s important to leave it unsigned.
- Expect to be given an eye test, expect that your photo will be taken, and be prepared for both.
Planning ahead and having a scheduled appointment saved time, and I was at the DMV for 45 minutes. It’s not an errand everyone enjoys, but this visit was efficient and now provides peace of mind for future air travel.
Transportation Security Administration — Real ID — Flying With a Real ID, accessed March 22, 2023, at REAL ID | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)