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VIDEO: What You Need To Get The REAL ID

November 13, 2018 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

Most people put going to the Department of Motor Vehicles on their list of least favorite things to do, ranking somewhere in between getting teeth pulled and being behind an extreme couponer at the grocery store. But did you know that South Carolina DMV’s have some of the shortest wait times in the entire country? In fact, you can check wait times right on their website before driving over. Here in Lexington, the wait time is just two minutes, unlike California where you can expect to wait anywhere between six to eight hours! SCDMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo has been working tirelessly to improve efficiencies and decrease wait times. Currently, his biggest task is communicating the need for Real IDs.

What is a Real ID and why do you need one? In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act as a result of the terrorist attacks on 9-11. Shortly after that, South Carolina passed its own law that stated that the state would not participate in the Real ID Act. However, several years later the federal government met with state officials and informed them that without a Real ID, SC citizens would not be allowed on airplanes, military bases or in federal buildings and iIn 2017, Governor Henry McMaster signed House Bill 3358, which authorized SC to begin working towards compliance of the federal Real ID Act. Citizens now have until October 1, 2020 to obtain a Real ID.

It is optional to change to a Real ID; however, most people will find it necessary. You will need a Real ID license or identification card if you plan to board a domestic, commercial flight, enter a secure federal building or visit a military installation. You may use your US Passport or military ID if you do not have a Real ID.

You may actually be able to bypass the wait altogether and request your Real ID online, but not everyone is eligible to do so. You can visit the DMV’s website to find out if you can apply for your Real ID online. If you do have to visit the DMV to purchase your Real ID in person, make sure you have all of the required documents on hand. You must bring to the SCDMV the following:

  • Proof of Identity (such as:birth certificate or US Passport)

Proof of Social Security Number (such as: Social security card or W-2)

Two Proofs of Current, Physical SC Address (such as: Current, unexpired South Carolina driver's license or ID card and a no more than 90-day-old utility bill with the same name and address

Proof of all Legal Name Changes (such as: Marriage license or court order issued by your county's probate or family court. You must show a complete name change history that links your birth certificate name to your present day name. If you have a valid US Passport or US Passport Card with your current, legal name, you may use that as your name change document.

But Shwedo advised that the longer you wait to get your Real ID, the longer you will wait at the DMV. “If you wait until 2020 to get moving on this, you might see wait times up to 6 hours,” he said. For more information, visit www.scdmvonline.com.