The Real ID Is Making Its’ Debut in New Jersey 

Alaa Essafi/ 

// Photo by from Pexels

New Jersey residents will have to update their licenses to be “Real ID” compliant for domestic air travel by or after October 1, 2020. 


The standard New Jersey driver’s license will no longer be accepted as authorized federal identification for domestic air travel. Residents who opt out of updating their license will have to use their passport or other forms of federally approved identification. 


One of the last four states to implement the Real ID, New Jersey is introducing the ID system at a steady pace to DMVs across the state in order to avoid congestion. The drastic change, which is being handled by the Motor Vehicle Commission, is an appointment-only approach that can be utilized on the NJ Real ID website. 


After signing up with their email, residents will be notified when the system is accessible at an MVC location near them in addition to the available appointment slots. 


To receive the new ID, the resident will need to bring various documents including proof of address and a social security card. Compounded with those documents, residents must also bring six acceptable points of identification. Acceptable points include birth certificates, unexpired US passports and health insurance cards. Any other forms can be found on the Real ID NJ website as well. 


The Real ID is almost identical to the standard driving license except that it has a gold star in the upper right corner. Additionally, the standard driver’s license will have the words, “not for Real ID purposes” written on it. 


The Real ID is part of the influx of measures taken to increase airport security, after the Sept. 11 attacks. It is more secure, and less easily duplicated. 


In response to the hassle of the Real ID change, BCC student Shamail Fatima said, “For security reasons, I understand. Nowadays there’s a lot going on. But I don’t know, I feel like just thinking about how everyone has to go through that process, it’s a lot. I could see it as a yes or no.” 


Still, some travelers may have never used their driver’s license to board an airplane, like Justin Moreta,who states, “It doesn’t affect me as much because I use my passport for both international and domestic travel.”


Despite the positive implications, the response to the change isn’t entirely positive. Many don’t see it as an effective security countermeasure while some are indifferent to it.


“I understand the security reasons but I feel like if someone really wants to get somewhere domestically and do harm, they could just drive there,” added Moreta. 


Not to mention the backlash from immigration activists who believe the Real ID Act is yet another attempt by the federal government to polarize the undocumented immigrant population. Others claim that Sept. 11 hijackers had passports and therefore, the changes won’t actually make a difference in national security. 


The Real ID is the beginning of a new era of travel in the US that is motivated by the elevated need for stricter airport security, and in turn, national security. 

For more information about Real ID, visit

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