The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has released images of what the new REAL ID drivers’ licenses will look like.
Residents will be able to apply for the REAL IDs beginning in 2018, but no official date has yet been set.
DMV Director Kevin Shwedo says the new design was required to include security features.
“They mandate that each of the credentials have security features embedded in the card and we had the design to reflect those security features,” he said.
One of the three mandated security features was a gold star on the ID.
“Those kinds that the TSA would see with the naked eye,” Shwedo said. “Those that require additional viewing capabilities and those that are forensically embedded in the card.”
The security embedded in the card is top secret.
“Only two people in the state know what the forensically-embedded features are in case we ever have to use them,” he said.
South Carolina was required to change its procedures for identification in order to comply with US Department of Homeland Security regulations. Residents will need a REAL ID in order to pass airport security, visit military installations and enter federal facilities. People who do not plan to access these areas do not need a REAL ID.
For South Carolina residents who do not request a REAL ID or present the required documentation for one, the new license design says “Not for Federal Identification.”
Beginning October 1, 2020, these cards and current SC licenses and IDs, may not be used as identification to pass security at airports nationwide, enter secure federal buildings, and visit military installations. People who have this card or the state’s current card must present a different form of federally-accepted identification, such as a valid US Passport or military ID, for the access in the future.
Shwedo warns people that there could be long wait lines at offices if people delay getting their identification to the DMV.
“We have 10 years of credentials to issue within the next three years,” he said. “We want people to come in before the lines start.”
People who do not need to enter airport security or access federal facilities listed above can keep their licenses until they expire. The previous license still allows people to:
Apply for or receive federal benefits for which you’re entitled (Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (i.e. a post office)
Access a hospital or receive life-saving services, and
Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.
The cost of the identification remains the same, whether it is REAL ID compliant or not.
To change your card to a REAL ID, the SCDMV must have all of the following documents on file:
Proof of Identity (Government-issued birth certificate or valid US Passport)
Proof of Social Security Number
Two Proofs of Current, Physical SC Address
Proof of All Legal Name Changes
Residents may take these documents to the SCDMV now. If they have a Class D, E, F, G, M, or any combination of those licenses (not a commercial driver’s license, identification card, or are an international customer) and are a US Citizen, they may be able to buy a new REAL ID license online in 2018 with a valid credit card. Driving privileges must be in good standing to be eligible for online ordering and the last renewal cannot have been by mail.
The SCDMV must be printing the cards in order to submit its certification for full compliance with the US Department of Homeland Security. Once that certification occurs, all unexpired SC driver’s licenses and identification cards will be valid to pass airport security, enter secure federal facilities, and visit military installations until October 1, 2020. While residents have until 2020 to change their cards, they’re encouraged to visit the SCDMV sooner to avoid anticipated long lines closer to 2020.
For the most up-to-date information, follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter. You may also visit www.scdmvonline.com. For questions about REAL ID, please email REALID@scdmv.net or call 803-896-5000.