Documents needed for compliance; 66,300 Marylanders Have Not Yet Responded to Notices from MDOT MVA

A group of Marylanders are at risk of having their driver’s licenses or identification cards recalled in June if they don’t satisfy document requirements that are part of the federally-mandated REAL ID process.

Some Marylanders who have the new REAL ID license or identification card still must bring in certain documentation to comply with the federal REAL ID requirement.

The overall deadline for obtaining a REAL ID is October 1, 2020, but more than 66,300 Marylanders with a new REAL ID star license or identification card have not yet filed the required documents. These people have been contacted by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) multiple times since December and need to bring those documents to the MDOT MVA by June to complete the process. Without those documents, MDOT MVA will start flagging the affected driver’s licenses and identification cards in June as “recalled.”

The recall of a driver’s license will make the physical card invalid. Customers would still be licensed drivers, but if pulled over by law enforcement, they would have their driver’s licenses confiscated. To avoid this, customers who are part of this group MUST come to a MDOT MVA branch with the required documents as soon as possible and are urged to make an appointment. Affected customers have received three notices via email since December that warn of the June 2019 deadline. They will receive three additional notices in the coming weeks via email and the U.S. Postal Service.

“It’s very important that MDOT MVA customers who have received REAL ID notifications pay attention to the deadlines and provide documents to their nearest branch as soon as possible,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer.

REAL ID was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and creates standards for secure driver’s licenses and identification cards nationwide. As of October 1, 2020, all Marylanders must have documents on file and be REAL ID compliant to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane or enter federal government facilities.

Maryland began issuing REAL ID licenses and identification cards in 2009 under a process that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deemed compliant. However, in October 2017, DHS informed Maryland that all customers with a driver’s license or identification card containing the REAL ID star must have documents on file with MDOT MVA.

As a result, some people have the newly-designed driver’s license or identification card, but still need to bring in documents to become REAL ID compliant. The documents can include: a birth certificate or passport, proof of social security and two documents proving a Maryland home address. For those in this group, including those facing the June deadline, there’s no charge for this process since these customers already paid to get their new license.

Administrator Nizer said that for those unsure whether they are part of the group facing the June recall, “we have developed tools to make checking your REAL ID status as simple as possible.”

People can go to the MVA’s REAL ID Look Up Tool, at www.mva.maryland.gov/realidlookup. When customers enter their driver’s license or identification card number, the tool provides details on their REAL ID status. For those facing the June deadline, the Look Up Tool will indicate:

“You are required to present documents in order to meet federal REAL ID Act requirements. Please bring your documents to a MDOT MVA branch office by MM/DD/YYYY. Failure to respond may result in action against your Maryland Driver’s License or ID card.”

The message asks customers to collect the required documents and make an appointment. Appointments aren’t required, but those who make one are guaranteed to be seen within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Appointments can be made at www.mva.maryland.gov/realid.

The MVA has added more than 1,900 weekly appointment slots across the state, and now has more than 3,000 appointments available every day. Branch offices in Baltimore City, Essex, Easton, Frederick, Gaithersburg and Westminster have extended hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, continuing through July 2 to assist in handling high volumes of REAL ID transactions. The Loveville branch in St. Mary’s County is offering Saturday hours of 8 a.m. to noon, also through July 2.

After the June deadline, there will still be nearly a million customers in the same situation – they received the new REAL ID license or identification card but need to file documents with the MVA to satisfy federal requirements. Those affected are being notified over a period of time, to ensure staff could meet standards for outstanding service for these customers, other REAL ID applicants and those conducting other business with the MVA. In May, the MVA will start another six-month notification process for people who will face a November 2019 deadline, then other notifications will go out monthly for those facing later deadlines. The timing allows all of these customers six months in order to comply.

There are 5 million Marylanders with a driver’s license or identification card. Of these, 2.3 million to date have the required federal REAL ID documents on file with MDOT MVA.