Michigan - One Year To Get Compliant REAL ID License


Michigan residents, If you're planning on flying or need to enter a federal building, you have one year to update your Michigan driver's license or state ID card.


Passed by Congress in 2005 with final enforcement deadlines for states including Michigan beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will not allow Michigan residents carrying a driver’s license or ID card that does not comply with the federal REAL ID Act to board domestic flights, or enter federal buildings, nuclear plants or military bases unless they have another accepted identity document.


The new licenses will feature a gold star in the upper right-hand corner or an American flag on Michigan Enhanced driver's licenses. There is no extra fee to get a REAL ID-compliant license.


What is the REAL ID Act?


Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.  These purposes are:

  • Accessing Federal facilities

  • Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft

  • Entering nuclear power plants

Learn more from the FAQs from the state and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) below:


Do children and teens need REAL ID?  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not require children under age 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.


Beginning October 1, 2020, what will I show at an airport if I do not have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID?  A valid U.S. passport or passport card, DHS Trusted Traveler card, and U.S. Military ID are just a few of the documents that will be accepted if you don’t have a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card. The federal Transportation Security Administration lists acceptable alternatives to a state-issued REAL ID-compliant license or ID card.


How much does a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID card cost?  Normal driver’s license and ID card fees apply. There is no additional cost for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card when a person renews normally. A correction fee may be charged when people apply for a compliant license outside of their normal renewal cycle.


How do I apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state ID card?

First Michigan Driver’s License or ID:

If you are applying for your first (original) Michigan driver’s license or ID card, please refer to the form, Applying for a Driver’s License or ID? (SOS-428). This form explains what documents are required to obtain your REAL ID card. 


Renewing a Michigan Driver’s License or ID Card:

If your renewal notice states that your card is REAL ID compliant, your new license or ID (standard and Enhanced) will have a star printed on it. If you are renewing an enhanced license or ID, it will have the American flag printed on it to show that it conforms to the federal REAL ID requirements.

If your renewal notice states that your license or ID is not REAL ID compliant and you want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card, you must visit a Secretary of State office. Please read the insert included with your renewal notice carefully to see what documentation you must provide.

Note: You cannot apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card by mail or online. Any documents provided when applying for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card must be originals or copies certified with a raised seal or stamp; faxes and photocopies will not be accepted.


Name Changes: If your name is different from what’s on your birth certificate, you’ll need to bring in a certified name-change document, such as your marriage license or court order. Multiple documents may be needed if your name has changed more than once. Name-change documents must show both the changed name and the previous name. Divorce decrees may be used if they are certified (copies are not accepted) and if they show the changed name and the previous name.


What happens to my standard driver's license or ID card after October 1, 2020 if I do not obtain a REAL ID-compliant card?

Nothing. Your standard Michigan driver’s license remains valid for driving, and a standard license and state ID may be used as identification for cashing checks, renting vehicles, purchasing alcohol and tobacco, or entering casinos. Just remember, you will need to bring a REAL ID-compliant document when you fly domestically, or enter a military base, nuclear power plant and certain federal buildings because your standard license or state ID will no longer be accepted.


Do I need a passport if I have a REAL ID? If you are traveling internationally you will still need your passport.  If you are traveling domestically, you will only need one valid form of identification – either your REAL ID or another acceptable alternative such as a passport, not both.


What identity and lawful status documents will FAS citizens need to present in order to obtain a REAL ID compliant license?

DHS recently designated an unexpired foreign passport with an approved I-94, with a valid visa no longer required, documenting the applicant’s most recent admission to the United States under a Compact, as  acceptable documents FAS citizens may present to establish identity in order to obtain a REAL ID license or identification card.  FAS citizens also may present one of the other identity documents listed in the regulations, including an unexpired passport, with a valid, unexpired visa (if applicable), and approved I-94, an unexpired employment authorization document, or a previously issued REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card (in which case, a valid passport and I-94 is acceptable evidence of lawful status). In all cases, the documentation presented for proof of identity and lawful status must be verified through Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE).


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