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DOT urges REAL ID registration ahead of 2020 deadline

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MADISON (WXOW) – You’ll notice a change in Wisconsin’s ID’s over the next year become more common.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has launched the ‘REAL ID’. The biggest difference you can see is a star added in the top right corner. That star means the REAL ID does more than a regular driver’s license or ID card.

The REAL ID can get you into federal buildings and onto domestic flights without any other additional identification. Right now, it’s not required, but by October 1st, 2020, it will be. After that, you will need additional federal identification, like a passport, to fly or visit federal areas.

The Wisconsin DOT and DMV recommend getting the REAL ID sooner rather than later. If you make the switch during your regular renewal period, there is no additional cost, and you’ll avoid long lines when the deadline gets closer.

“We’re at the point now where there’s less than one year before it happens so we want to make sure people are using that time to plan,” Kristina Boardman, the Wisconsin DMV Administrator said. “It’s gonna take a little bit of time to get your documents together and then come to the service center so we’re encouraging people not to wait till the last minute.”

When you go in for your new REAL ID, be sure to have the proper paperwork prepared. You’ll need your birth certificate, social security card, and proof of address.

Boardman said the idea for REAL IDs was spurred by 911 and a call for more secure travel identification. The federal government issued the REAL ID Act in 2005. Wisconsin later joined a number of states issuing REAL IDs in 2013. Boardman said most Wisconsinites have had to renew their ID since then, so this is their final push before the REAL IDs become required.

“As people are eligible for renewal, we make sure they know that information. So the good thing is, in Wisconsin, by the time October 1st, 2020, comes around because we’re on an eight year cycle, most everyone will have been given a chance to do that during their normal renewal for no extra fee,” Boardman said.

If you weren’t able to get your REAL ID during your normal renewal period and your current ID won’t expire before October next year, Boardman says you can upgrade to the REAL ID now or later by paying $14, the same price as a regular ID replacement fee.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s REAL IDs, the requirements to get one, and fast track your sign up process all by going online to

Amber Meyer

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