Secure driver’s licenses required by 2020


Does your Indiana driver’s license or ID card have a gold star in the top right corner?

In three years, we will all need to have that on our cards to board airplanes, if we don’t already have a passport.

The card, called a Real ID, is being sanctioned and required by the federal government as a uniform ID across the country for overall safety and security. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is working to replace all licenses and ID cards with the new cards, but knows that the public, in general, doesn’t know about the more secure IDs.

“The BMV wants to do everything we can to educate Indiana residents on the importance of getting a Real ID before October 2020,” said Sarah Bonick, Indiana BMV’s director of internal communications. “We want to avoid confusion at airports, long waits at our branches and any inconvenience for our customers.”

A Real ID is a license or ID card that meets the federal requirements for identification. What makes the card more secure is the additional personal information residents must show the BMV to obtain it.

As part of the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. Congress passed in 2005 the federal Real ID Act, which set minimum standards for the issuance of state-issued IDs and driver’s licenses that could be used for federal identification. The 9/11 Commission recommended the change to improve security across the nation — one uniform ID to gain access to secure buildings, military bases, and airports.

Indiana has been issuing Real ID licenses, since January 2010, as licenses and ID cards come up for renewal. Residents whose cards came up for renewal have received information in the mail about the new card and the required documents needed to complete their renewal, Bonick explained. Those who have renewed their licenses and IDs since 2010 will have a gold star in the upper right corner of their card.

“Obtaining a Real ID is a requirement for anyone applying for a new Indiana credential (driver’s license, learner’s permit, or ID card),” Bonick said, “and also for individuals returning to Indiana after moving out of state and foreign nationals with temporary or permanent lawful status.”

To get the ID, residents will need go to the license branch when they renew their ID or license. They will need to take with them documents that prove their identity, social security number, lawful status in the United States and Indiana residency. The list of documents that are accepted can be found on the BMV’s website at

Later this summer, the BMV plans to promote Real ID more heavily through postcards, a dedicated website and information available at the BMV branches. The BMV is also working with the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, to tell residents that they cannot board a commercial domestic flight without a Real ID or passport beginning in October 2020.

“Licenses and IDs can be renewed up to 12 months prior to their expiration date,” Bonick said. “The BMV is encouraging everyone to get a Real ID sooner rather than later.”


Most common documents used to obtain a Real ID
To prove identity, one of these is needed: original or certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, foreign passport with a VISA with an approved I-94 form, or a consular report of birth abroad issued by Department of State.

To prove Social Security number, one of these is needed: Social Security card, W-2 form, SSA-1099 form, Non-SSA-1099 form, pay stub with your name and Social Security number on it or Social Security Administration documents establishing that you are ineligible for a Social Security number

To prove lawful U.S. status, one of these is needed: original or certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, foreign passport with a VISA with an approved I-94 form or a consular report of birth abroad issued by Department of State.

To prove Indiana residency, two of these are needed: computer-generated bill from a utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital showing name and address (must be dated within 60 days of the date of application); bank statement or bank transaction receipt dated in the last 60 days showing name and address and the bank’s name and address; pre-printed pay stub showing name and address and the employer’s name and address, dated in the last 60 days; or Medicaid or Medicare benefit statement showing name and address of residence, dated within the last 60 days.

For a complete list, visit the BMV’s website,

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