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Air travelers aren't required to present a "Real ID" -- yet

There are additional paperwork requirements for the Real ID-style license -- but not an additional fee.

Starting in May, 2023, the “Real ID” will be the only type of license accepted by airport security. It has features to prevent counterfeiting, such as laser etchings in place of a photo. It costs the same as a regular license. But Ohio BMV Registrar Charlie Norman says getting one will require drivers to provide additional documentation.

“You're required to prove your full legal name, your date of birth, Social Security number, and Ohio residence," Norman said. "So, you have to bring some more documents with you to that transaction: things like passports, birth certificates, W2, and utility bills.”

The “Real ID” grew out of federal guidelines for uniform security standards for driver’s licenses.

Norman added “it came out of the 9/11 Commission, when they looked at the hijackers and saw that they had any number of invalid or fraudulent state IDs and driver’s licenses. So, the federal government said, ‘states, if you’re going to issue driver’s licenses that can be used for federal purposes – like flying – you’ve got to go through a couple extra steps.’”

In May, 2023, Real IDs will be the only Ohio driver's licenses accepted by airport security. Getting one of the IDs requires additional documents to prove identity and residency.

Congress passed the bill recommending the standards in 2005. It was signed into law in 2018, but the deadline has been pushed back several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Norman says people can still choose a standard driver's license, and you don't have to provide any additional documentation if you're just handing your old license over.

"What I really suggest that people do -- if they think they want to get that Real ID-compliant license -- is go to our website and there's an interactive document checklist there.”

Norman says, when visiting the BMV, it’s also a good idea to reserve a spot in line by using their online queuing system.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.