Tennessee Prepares for REAL ID Act Implementation in 2025

Tennessee gears up for the REAL ID Act taking effect in May 2025.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) is reminding residents of Tennessee that starting May 7, 2025, the REAL ID Act of 2005 will be enforced. This federal mandate requires individuals aged 18 and above to possess a REAL ID-compliant credential for accessing certain federal facilities, boarding commercial flights, entering nuclear power plants, and accessing military bases within the United States.

Since July 1, 2019, TDOSHS has issued REAL IDs, but with 1.6 million out of 5.8 million valid credentials in Tennessee still not upgraded to REAL IDs, citizens are urged to apply before the May 2025 deadline to avoid potential delays at Driver Services Centers.

For those wondering what documents are acceptable in lieu of a REAL ID, a valid passport and other forms of identification listed on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website are viable alternatives. To apply for a REAL ID, applicants must present one proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence, a Social Security Number, and two proofs of Tennessee residency. If there has been a name change, a supporting legal document is also required. A comprehensive list of acceptable documents and the option to upload required documents in advance can be found on the TDOSHS website.

Applications for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Services Center or a participating County Clerk partner. For individuals who do not need or want a REAL ID, a standard credential will be issued, marked with “Not for REAL ID Act Purposes,” which will continue to serve for general identification needs.

The cost for a REAL ID is $28.00 for the initial issuance. Those applying outside their renewal period may incur a duplicate fee based on their license classification. More details on fees and the application process can be found on the official Tennessee REAL ID website.

To streamline the application process, it is recommended to schedule an appointment ahead of time at a Driver Services Center. This proactive approach is aimed at facilitating a smoother transition for Tennesseans adapting to the federal REAL ID requirements.

Source: Read Original Release

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