From coast to coast, state to state and town to town, the alarm bells are ringing in anticipation of the fast-approaching deadline for REAL ID, the post-9/11 federal requirement that sets mandatory higher security standards for identification. And if you haven’t been paying attention, it’s time you did.

If you travel by air, REAL ID will impact you.

Bring these required documents to any Secretary of State office.

1. Driver’s license or state ID card.

2. One of the following original documents (faxes and photocopies won’t be accepted):

•Certified birth certificate with raised

seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency.

•Valid, unexpired U.S. passport.

•Approved citizenship or legal presence document.

3. If your name differs from what’s on your birth certificate, bring certified documents for every time your name changed, such as marriage licenses or court orders.

There’s no additional fee to turn a license or state ID card into a standard REAL ID if it’s done during your normal renewal time; otherwise a duplicate card fee will be charged.

The good news is that many people already have a REAL ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport or passport card, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an Enhanced Driver’s License. There’s a full list of acceptable REAL ID documents at The bad news is your standard driver’s license or ID card isn’t on that list, unless you turn it into a REAL ID-compliant document.

Becoming REAL ID-ready isn’t complicated. To turn your license or ID card into a REAL ID, simply visit a Secretary of State branch office or make an appointment at You’ll need to bring the required documents to prove your identity, and be aware that if you ever changed your name, you may need additional documentation. When your new license or ID comes in the mail, it will have the REAL ID star in the top right corner.

The big message is don’t delay. As of June 2019, only 37 percent of Michigan licenses and ID cards were REAL ID-compliant, which could mean a last-minute rush at Secretary of State offices when the Oct. 1, 2020, deadline nears. Be ready.

For more information, visit