Lousiana's Office of Motor Vehicles has a very simple question: "Are You REAL ID Ready?" That's what their website says about the May 3, 2023, deadline for Louisiana Drivers.
Here is what their website says about the deadline:
"Beginning May 3, 2023, Louisiana residents will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft."
That's right, you won't be able to fly starting May 3, 2023, without presenting a driver's license with the REAL ID sign on it - a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
Here is what the sample Louisiana license looks like with the gold star on it:
That shows that it is a REAL ID since there is a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. It meets the requirements of the Federal Government (without a passport or passport card) in order to board an airplane starting on May 3, 2023, in the U.S. or enter Federal Buildings or military institutions in the U.S.
Otherwise, you will have to present a passport, passport card, or a Dept. of Defense ID. The same applies to entering federal facilities that require security (i.e., not post offices).
The Louisiana website also has a countdown ticker. It shows that the REAL ID deadline is now less than 6 months away: 5 Months, 13 Days to be precise, as of Nov. 19.
The Louisiana website explains why the REAL ID is necessary:
"The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.”
In other words, the Feds require it. The most important thing is that Louisiana now recommends getting the REAL ID card, which requires a personal visit to the Office of Motor Vehicles, along with certain documentation.
What Is Needed to Get a REAL ID Driver's License
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles list 3 types of documents that are needed:
1. Documents to Establish Identity, Date of Birth, and Lawful Status - just one of the following is needed:
- A valid, unexpired United States passport or passport card, or
- Original birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States (incl. U.S. territories and Washington, D.C.)
- For other documents, such as a consular report of birth abroad - see all the various forms.
2. Documents to Establish Social Security Information - just one of the following needed:
- Social Security card
- A host of other documents, such as a W-2 Tax form, and SSA-1099 - see the whole list.
3. Documents to Establish Principal Residence (in Louisiana) - two of the following needed:
- utility bills showing the existing principal address
- financial statements
- LA driver's license with an existing principal address in LA
- see the whole list of documents
Don't Wait, Don't Procrastinate
It's probably better to not put this requirement off. If you wait until closer to May 3 (which is really just 4 months into 2023), the lines will be long and the ability to set an appointment ahead of time will be limited.
So, for all intents and purposes, you might want to get into the LA OMV office to get your REAL ID driver's license before the end of the year.
The Louisiana OMV has a brochure, which gives some contact information where you call and ask questions about whether you need to get a REAL ID driver's license.
But all you have to do is look at your license and see if there is a gold star in the upper right-hand corner - as in the picture above.
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