Can I Get a REAL ID Driver’s License in SC?

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Legislation |

Your old SC driver’s license will not be enough to get you inside a federal building, airport, or military installation after Sept. 30, 2020.

In the future, you will need a REAL ID driver’s license or identity card.

Although you are not required to get the new driver’s license yet in South Carolina, it is available and it’s a good idea to go ahead and take care of it especially if you anticipate traveling to any federal facilities or flying.

What Is REAL ID?

SC has created a new driver’s license to comply with the federal REAL ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005.

REAL ID is intended to improve the security of government-issued identifications and make it more difficult for terrorists or other lawbreakers to use fake IDs to avoid detection.

Any unexpired, non-compliant license will still allow you to legally drive, vote, apply for federal benefits, and receive medical and emergency care. So, if your current license doesn’t expire before October 2020, you don’t have to get a REAL ID to continue most daily activities.

And if you don’t get a new license, you can still use a valid US passport or military identification to enter federal facilities or take domestic flights.

If you choose to get a REAL ID, you will need to provide the following if they are not already on file with the DMV:

  • Proof of your identity (a valid U.S. passport or birth certificate);
  • Proof of your Social Security number (your Social Security card or a W-2 form that includes your name, Social Security number and employer’s name);
  • Two proofs of your address in South Carolina (an unexpired driver’s license or identification card and a utility bill that is no more than 90 days old and includes your current address); and
  • Proof of any legal name changes (you must be able to show your entire name change history – from the name on your birth certificate to the name you legally use now).

If you want to get your REAL ID now, you don’t have to wait. You can visit any of South Carolina’s DMV offices or go to scdmvonline.com. All licenses – the new REAL ID license or the non-compliant version – cost $25.

Could REAL ID Make the Roads Safer?

Only a few states allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, and South Carolina is not one of them.

Not allowing undocumented workers to get driver’s licenses puts other drivers at risk because it creates an incentive for some people to drive without a license. But, issuing licenses to undocumented workers creates a different kind of risk, because it grants them access to sensitive areas such as airports and federal facilities.

Several states already issue “second class” driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. These licenses allow immigrants to legally drive but cannot be used for voting or boarding a domestic flight. South Carolina does not issue such driver’s licenses.

REAL ID could be used to resolve this conflict because citizens will be able to get a document that serves as both a driver’s license and federal identification – REAL ID.

Federal law does not allow undocumented immigrants to get a REAL ID, but if South Carolina’s current requirements were changed, undocumented workers could get a non-compliant (not REAL ID) driver’s license that doesn’t grant them access to federal buildings or airports, while still screening them for their ability to drive safely and their knowledge of SC traffic laws.  

This could make us all safer because drivers who have been trained, tested, and insured are less likely to cause accidents or flee the scene when they are involved in accidents.

SC Auto Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Conway, and Lexington

We keep up with the constant changes in South Carolina law so that you don’t have to… if you are facing legal issues like how to get compensated after a car crash or defense of a criminal case in SC, we want to help.

Call Coastal Law at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation about your case.  

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