South Carolinians who have not obtained their REAL ID can now do so a bit easier due to a recent federal law that reduces the REAL ID documentation burden.

Signed at the end of December 2020 as part of a COVID-19 funding law, the REAL ID Modernization Act provides relief for all citizens who may have trouble providing physical documentation of their social security number when applying for REAL ID driver’s licenses or identification cards.

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) will now electronically verify a customer’s social security number based on the information presented on the REAL ID application. Customers no longer will have to provide physical copies of their social security cards, W-2 forms, or documents listing their social security number as proof of their social security numbers. The social security number electronic verification is performed in-person at the SCDMV branch office during the application process.

“It’s important to consider getting a REAL ID now before you find yourself needing one after the deadline,” said SCDMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “With the REAL ID Modernization Act in effect, the process of getting a REAL ID is easier than ever.”

Customers must still provide all of the following documents when purchasing a REAL ID if they’re not already on file with the SCDMV:
• Proof of Identity and citizenship (government-issued birth certificate or valid US Passport),
• Two Proofs of Current, Physical SC Address, and
• Proof of all Legal Name Changes (if applicable).

The REAL ID Modernization Act amends the REAL ID Act of 2005. It eliminates the requirement for applicants to present physical social security number documents to obtain REAL IDs. Instead, states can now verify social security numbers electronically at the time of application.

The implementation date for REAL ID credentials is October 1, 2021. After this date, you must have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card to board a domestic, commercial flight and enter certain federal facilities unless you have a valid US Passport, military ID, or another federally accepted form of identification to show security when doing the above activities.

Customers are encouraged to visit SCDMVonline.com to book appointments to obtain their REAL IDs. The SCDMV’s Sweet Caroline tool, which is located on the homepage of SCDMVOnline.com, can answer REAL ID-related questions and guide customers on what documents they may need to obtain their REAL ID credential.