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Checking for your REAL ID

With the REAL ID deadline still months away, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says many residents may already have it. Beginning October 1st, every air traveler 18 years and older must carry with them a REAL ID-compliant driver license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. The cards are also needed to enter federal buildings and military bases. REAL ID-compliant cards have been issued in Wisconsin since 2005, so Joski says if you have renewed recently, you should be fine.

REAL ID-compliant Wisconsin driver licenses are marked with a star in the upper right hand corner. The Department of Motor Vehicles has two service centers open in Door and Kewaunee Counties with Sturgeon Bay open Tuesdays and Thurdays and Algoma on Mondays and Wednesdays. 



There has been a significant amount of conversation regarding the new “Real ID” and I thought I would take this opportunity to go over some information as well as some common questions. The basis for this new form of identification was established in the Real ID act of 2005 which modified the United States federal law pertaining to security, authentication and issuance procedure standards for driver’s licenses and identity documents.

The first question is” What is the real purpose of the real ID?”

A real ID is a form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a real ID or another TSA-approved form of identification in order to fly after October 1, 2020.

Some of the other purposes to the creation and implementation of the Real Id is changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses and Australian citizens, funding reports and pilot projects related to border security, updating and tightening laws on applications for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorism.

The good news is many of us already have a Wisconsin Real ID. If you look at your driver’s license and you see a star in the upper right hand corner then you have a Wisconsin Real ID.

Probably the biggest question is how do I apply for a Real ID if I don’t already have one and what documentation do I need?

To get a Real ID, you need to present documents to your motor vehicle department proving your age and identity, Social Security number and address. That generally means bringing a birth certificate or passport, a Social Security card or tax form such as a W-2, and two proofs of address. Be aware that the birth certificate must be a certified birth certificate and that you must also bring in any and all documents related to name changes. This may mean both a birth certificate and a marriage certificate or any court documents related to legal name changes or adoption.

If you do not have a real ID and your license expires after October 1, 2020 you can renew your license up to a year prior to its expiration. Just as a reminder, you do not need a Real ID if you are not intending on traveling as stated earlier in this article. For more information, you can visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Website at:


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