REAL IDs required in less than a year

October 01, 2019

In less than a year, South Carolinians who wish to board a domestic, commercial flight, enter a secure federal building, or visit a military installation must have a REAL ID driver's license or identification card issued by the SCDMV to do so.

Read more about REAL ID
"We've reached a critical point in our implementation of REAL ID as a state," said SCDMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. "Unless you have a valid US Passport or military ID, now is the time to purchase your REAL ID at or in one of our branches to avoid long lines or future disruptions in your travel plans. To think that lines won't reach four-to-six hours in South Carolina is a myth, and we're urging you to prove us wrong by preparing now."

Since February 20, 2018, the SCDMV has issued more than 960,000 REAL ID licenses and IDs. The agency expects to reach the one million mark in mid-October. Still, there are close to 3.5 million South Carolinians who have yet to purchase a REAL ID.

Beginning October 1, 2020, you must have a REAL ID, or another federal approved identification, to

  • Board a domestic, commercial flight,
  • Enter a secure federal building, or
  • Visit a military installation*.

*Presenting a REAL ID at a military installation does not permit access to the installation. You must have a valid need to access the installation.

Beginning in October 2019, South Carolinians who are eligible to buy their REAL ID license online will be notified by mail.

The SCDMV will mail notifications to approximately 500,000 citizens over the next six months who may be able to purchase their REAL ID license without a trip to an SCDMV branch. If you receive this notification in the mail, you're encouraged to take the advantage of this convenient service and avoid the SCDMV altogether.

"When you buy your REAL ID license online, the SCDMV will use your current photograph and signature on file with the agency and mail your new license in about five to ten business days after placing the order," explained Deputy Director of the Contact Center Melissa Cisson, who oversees the online ordering process.

For South Carolinians who already have a license, purchasing a REAL ID is considered renewing your license.

To purchase a REAL ID, you must bring to the SCDMV, or the agency must already have on file, all of the following documents:

  • Proof of identity (government-issued birth certificate or valid US Passport),
  • Proof of social security number,
  • Two proofs of current, physical SC address, and
  • Proof of all legal name changes, if applicable.

View the United States Citizens' Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-93) and the International Customers' Checklist (SCDMV Form MV-94) for a complete list of documents.

International customers must bring their proof of authorized length of say in the United States in addition to the documents listed above. Only certain branches can complete international customer transactions.

Visit an SCDMV branch