About REAL ID

​If you plan to fly within the U.S., visit​ a military base or other federal buildings, the Department of Homeland Security will require identification that is REAL ID compliant (or show another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport) beginning October 1, 2020. Wisconsin DMV issues REAL ID compliant products (marked with a ✪) in accordance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. If you aren’t sure if you have a Real ID, you should contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

​​What it means for you​

  • If it’s time to renew your driver license or ID, you can upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant card for no additional fee (if the upgrade takes place at the same time as your renewal).
  • If your current driver license or ID will not expire before 2020, and you wish to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card, the cost of a duplicate card will apply.
  • Wisconsin offers both REAL ID-compliant and non-compliant driver licenses and ID cards. The cards look similar; REAL ID-compliant are marked with a ✪, while non-compliant cards are marked “NOT FOR FEDERAL PURPOSES.” Should you choose to continue to hold a non-compliant card, you will need another form of identification to board a plane or access federal sites.
  • If you have a valid U.S. passport or another acceptable form of federal identification, you can use that for identification, in place of a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card.  To view the list of Transportation Safety Administration approved documents, go to www.tsa.gov/Travel.

Use DMV’s interactive driver licensing guide to receive a personalized checklist of the required documents you will need to bring. It also allows you to pre-fill any required application(s), print and bring with you or submit electronically (if eligible). You may also be able to schedule an appointment for the DMV for faster service.

Driver Information Section
P.O. Box 7983
Madison, WI 53707-7983
Email Wisconsin DMV email service​​​
Phone (608) 264-7447
Fax (608) 267-3812

To get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, people must visit a Wisconsin DMV office and bring these original documents or a certified copy — not a photocopy, fax or scan:

  • Proof of name and date of birth, such as a valid passport or birth certificate.
  • Proof of legal presence in the United States, such as passport or birth certificate.
  • Proof of identity, such as driver’s license, military ID or passport.
  • Proof of Social Security number, such as Social Security Card or W-2 form listing your name, address and entire Social Security number.
  • Proof of address, such as driver’s license, college ID or utility or mobile phone bill.
  • Proof of name change, if applicable.

So, to summarize, if you are flying within the United States, you will need this federal stamp on your license. If not, you are required to also bring your passport, certified copy of your birth certificate, or the other allowed documents above, just to fly. There is no extra charge; the easiest way is when renewing your license, also bring to the DMV either your passport or birth certificate, along with a current W2 or pay stub.

As of October, 2019, only 36% of Wisconsin residents have applied for this REAL ID card, which means almost 3.8 million people have not yet applied. With this starting in less than 10 months, do yourself a favor; do it soon, as there is sure to be a mad dash next year.

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