State Seal New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

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The facts on “REAL ID” in New Jersey: What you should know.

“REAL ID” Deadlines

  • Effective October 1, 2020, individuals will not be able to fly commercially or enter certain federal facilities with a driver license or ID that is not “REAL ID” compliant. However, they may use a passport or military ID.
  • UNTIL THAT DATE, New Jersey driver licenses or ID cards are valid for domestic air travel.
  • The MVC plans to begin issuing “REAL ID” licenses and ID cards in the spring of 2019, plenty of time before the “REAL ID” program takes full effect.
  • One of the enforcement provisions of the 2005 “REAL ID” law provides that states must show their progress to the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a quarterly basis, and each year must demonstrate satisfactory progress to be granted an extension to the following year or be placed in “non-compliant status.”
  • DHS officials have reported to us that they are satisfied with New Jersey’s progress, and we submitted our 2018 extension request as directed by them. As a result, our extension has been granted to October 10, 2019.


Getting Ready for “REAL ID”

Between now and Spring 2019, we are planning a number of steps to reduce the massive wait-times and blocks-long lines that some other states have experienced when they’ve begun their REAL ID programs.

  • We will make more transactions available online. In the coming months, you will be able to renew your registration, get a duplicate registration, or renew your standard (non-REAL-ID license) from an easy-to-use online portal – even from your mobile phone!
  • We will update our website so that you can easily learn what you need to know, including
    • Whether you need a “REAL ID” or a standard NJ license
    • Whether you need to go to an MVC agency at all, or can process your transaction online
    • What documents you should bring to MVC for your new “6 points” of ID
    • Which agencies have the shortest wait times so you can plan your trip
  • We will be improving our service in our brick-and-mortar agencies so that your trip is quicker and easier.


The implementation of the federally mandated “REAL ID” has caused headaches for many other states. We will likely be processing 3-4x as many transactions in the next year as in previous years – but we are working hard to make that experience as smooth as possible for the people of New Jersey.
Follow us on Twitter at @NJ_MVC or on Facebook for the latest updates!