Whitney Russell
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What Is a REAL ID and When Do I Need to Get One in Ohio?

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personal ID card driver's license
Ohio adults should get a REAL ID soon in light of the updated enforcement deadline next fall
Photo: Christina Smith via Pixabay

If you still need to upgrade your Ohio driver’s license to a REAL ID, you have an extra year until you need to do so. Here’s a brief overview of what these ID cards are, their benefits, and why you should get one sooner rather than later.


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REAL ID explained

When people say “REAL ID,” they typically mean REAL ID-compliant cards. (If you’re not sure whether you have one or not, look for a star symbol at the top right corner of your current ID card.) However, the phrase REAL ID originated from the REAL ID Act that Congress passed back in 2005, in the wake of September 11.

Per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, this legislation established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. The original intention of the legislation was to reduce the threat of terrorism by increasing the requirements an individual would have to meet before having access to domestic planes.

More information about REAL IDs

It’s worth noting that you’ll still need a passport even if you have a REAL ID. While a REAL ID can be used in place of a passport for domestic flights here in the U.S., you’ll still need a passport if you’re flying to other countries. And not only will you need a REAL ID to fly within the U.S., but you’ll also need one to enter government buildings after October 1, 2021, as Smarter Travel confirms.


The enforcement deadline for Ohio

If you live in Ohio, you might be under the impression that you have until October of this year to upgrade your driver’s license to a REAL ID-compliant card. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new deadline is October 1, 2021, as listed on the Ohio BMV website.

Though it might seem like you have plenty of time to get a REAL ID, the DHS advises that you should get one well in advance of next year’s deadline. That’s because there might be long wait times due to a rush of people trying to get their REAL IDs at the last minute.

Find out more about getting your REAL ID when you head to the Ohio BMV website. And increase your chances of getting a great picture on your ID card with these helpful tips.


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