NJ Real ID: Everything You Need to Know

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As warmer weather approaches and pandemic fatigue continues to set in, you might find yourself planning a trip this year to get a change of scenery. Coming this fall, you’ll need a new form of ID for domestic travel: a REAL ID. This new federal requirement for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver IDs primarily serves to prevent fraudulent identification. Unfortunately, you can’t simply order it online or by phone, you must go in person to request a REAL ID but if you schedule an appointment now you should have plenty of time before the deadline.

New Jerseyans will have an additional 19 months to get a REAL ID after the Department of Homeland Security delayed the requirement for air travelers to have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification by October 1 to May 3, 2023.

Starting May 3, 2023, you must have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license/ID for domestic flights, unless you use a U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. Until that date, a standard NJ driver’s license is still valid. Keep reading to find out if you need a REAL ID and what documents are required to get it.

nj real id facts requirements

Who Needs a Real ID

You are not required to get a REAL ID, however, starting October 1st, if you typically use your driver’s license or non-driver ID {instead of a passport or other form of ID} to fly within the U.S. you probably want a REAL ID. 

Otherwise, you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. The standard NJ driver’s license can still be used for driving. Upgrade or renew your standard license/ID to a REAL ID by making an appointment here.

What to Bring: Get It Right the First Time

In order to qualify for a REAL ID you need to bring two (2) proofs of residential address, one(1) proof of social security number, and six(6) points of ID. You can download a printable document selector checklist here. Every ID document you show must be original, unlaminated, or a certified copy in English marked with a state or municipal seal. If any of your documents don’t meet this requirement, or if any appear altered or false or are deemed invalid for any reason, you may be required to submit additional documentation. Submitting your Social Security number is required by state law. 

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If you have changed your name for marriage or otherwise, you may need more than a marriage certificate to verify your name change. You can double-check the details here.

Residential Address

  • – Valid NJ driver license/non-driver ID card
  • – Utility or credit card bill issued in the past 90 days
  • – Checking or savings account statement from a bank or credit union issued within the past 60 days
  • – Original, unexpired lease, or rental agreement
  • – Tax bill, statement or receipt, and/or any letter or correspondence received from the IRS or tax office within the past year
  • – First-class mail from any government agency in the past 6 months
  • – If under 18, a statement from parent or guardian certifying the address of the applicant

Proof of Full Social Security Number

  • – Social Security card
  • – W-2 Form issue within the past year
  • – Pay Stub with name and full SSN
  • – 1099 Form issued within the past year

Applicants must select 6 points from primary and secondary documents:

Primary

  • – Unexpired US passport or passport card {4}
  • – US or US Territory birth certificate certified copy filed with a state office of vital statistics or equivalent agency in the individual’s state of birth {4}
  • – US Department of State birth certificate {4}
  • – US Department of State Consular Report of Birth Abroad {4}
  • – Certificate of Naturalization {4}
  • – Certificate of Citizenship {4}
  • – Current Permanent Resident Card issued by USCIS {4}
  • – Unexpired foreign passport with valid VISA and I-94 {2}

Secondary

  • – Unexpired standard photo driver license from NJ or any state, or US Territory, and District of Columbia {1}
  • – Unexpired standard non-driver identification card from NJ onlym{1}
  • – Social Security card {1}
  • – Bank/credit union statement or record {within the past 60 days} {1}
  • – ATM/debit card with preprinted name and applicant’s signature {1}
  • – Current health insurance card or prescription card displaying applicant’s name {1}
  • – Current employee identification card with pay stub {1}
  • – State professional license {1}
  • – NJ public assistance card with photo {also known as an NJ Social Services identification card} {1}
  • – High school diploma, GED, or college degree {1}
  • – Property tax statement, bill, or receipt issued by an NJ municipality {1}
  • – For NJ high school graduates: a waiver certificate for the written portion of the driver’s test {1}
  • – Veteran Administration universal access photo identification card {1}
  • – Unexpired federal government employee driver license {1}
  • – Unexpired federal government employee photo identification card {1}
  • – US military discharge papers {Form DD-214} {2}
  • – FAA pilot license {2}
  • – US school photo identification card with transcript or school records {2}
  • – US college photo identification card with transcript {2}
  • – Legal name change court order signed by a judge or court clerk {3}
  • – Civil marriage or civil union certificate or divorce decree {3}
  • – US adoption papers {3}
  • – Current military dependent card {3}
  • – US military photo retiree card {3}
  • – NJ firearm purchaser card {3}
  • – Unexpired REAL ID driver license, non-driver identification card, or probationary license from any state, US territory, and the District of Columbia {4}

You can schedule an appointment to get your REAL ID now, or you can wait until you wish to renew your license. There are four locations within the area that are taking appointments. Be sure to check on closures due to the pandemic. If your appointment is canceled due to a COVID-19 related agency closure, keep your cancellation email handy because you can bring it to a licensing center and get a REAL ID without a scheduled appointment.

For more information visit the NJ MVC website.

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Originally from North Carolina, Ainsley became a proud Hoboken Girl years ago. As a freelance journalist she has written about everything under the sun for the past six years. She works from her home office in uptown Hoboken or sometimes from Choc-o-Pain, because nothing says “freelancer” like working from a café with a fresh croissant nearby. As the mother of one very fast toddler, she has a passion for self-care, parenting hacks, and discovering all the fun things the Mile Square has to offer.