Secretary of State trying to clear confusion about Real ID


MICHIGAN — As of October 2020, residents in Michigan and across the country will be required to have a Real ID endorsement on their driver’s licenses to fly domestically or enter federal facilities such as military bases or nuclear power plants.

“People will be required to have what is being called a Real ID to fly in the United States,” said Marilyn Shortridge, manager of the West Branch Secretary of State office. “Each state is having to produce the Real ID driver’s licenses and state IDs for people who don’t already have a passport.”

Shortridge said there has been some confusion about the Real ID requirements, due in part to to people confusing it with Michigan’s enhanced driver’s license, which allows travel by car or ship to Canada and Mexico.

“What has been confusing for people is that in Michigan, we don’t only offer a Real ID, we also offer the enhanced license,” Shortridge said. “The enhanced license qualifies as Real ID, but it costs more money than a standard Real ID, which is just your driver’s license.”

There is no additional cost to getting the Real ID endorsement on a driver’s license or state ID at time of renewal. Cost to renew a standard driver’s license is $18, while renewal of a chauffeur's license is $35 and renewal of an enhanced driver’s license is $45.

“We’re trying to make people aware of it, and we’re trying to get people to do it at the time they renew at no additional cost, instead of having to come back later on and do a correction on their licence, paying extra money for it, which they wouldn’t have to do when they renew,” Shortridge said.

The Real ID endorsement is not a requirement for renewal, but licenses of individuals who choose to opt out will come back from the Secretary of State with a note that says, “Not for federal identification,” Shortridge said.

Those who wish to have the Real ID endorsement must provide one of two types of identification upon renewal, either a valid passport or birth certificate, unless they already have the enhanced license endorsement. Those who have had a legal name change are also required to provide documentation of the change, such as a marriage license or adoption papers.


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