Florida's Countdown To Get a REAL ID by May 3, 2023, Could Lead to Long Lines at the DMV - In Order To Fly Then

Mark Hake

Florida's official Motor Vehicle site shows a countdown - only 149 days left - to get a REAL ID driver's license by May 3, 2023. Without it, you can't get on a plane in the U.S. (at least without a passport).

As a result, the lines could start getting long and there could be a rush early next year to get the Florida REAL ID driver's license.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 goes into effect then. All people boarding flights must have a REAL ID on them (or else a passport or military ID). You also will not be able to enter federal buildings with security or a military base.

If your driver's license does not have a white star or a gold circle with a white star in the upper right-hand corner, you do not have a REAL ID-compliant D.L.

Here is what it looks like:

Florida DL with White Star in upper right-hand corner.Photo byFlorida DHSMV
This shows that this license has a white star in the upper right-hand corner. There is actually a gold circle around it, but because of the pink background, it is not easily seen. The license below shows more clearly the gold circle and white star:
Photo byFlorida HSMV

This shows the gold circle white star very clearly and indicates that this license is REAL-ID compliant.

How To Get a Florida REAL ID license before May 3, 2023

You must visit an office to become REAL ID compliant for the first time. You can go to this site: www.flhsmv.gov/locations. That will allow you to find a driver's license service center or tax collector office near you in Florida.

Given the long lines that are projected to occur early next year, you should probably make an appointment online prior to your office visit.

What Documents To Bring

Florida has a site that goes into all the details of what documents to bring. But, for simplicity's sake here are the most common types of documents that will be required:

For U.S. Citizens:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  • Original or Certified copy of a birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS
  • Certificate of Citizenship

If you have had a name change bring the following:

  • Court ordered name change document
  • Marriage certificate, issued by the courts and/or
  • Divorce decree, issued by the courts

Florida says that the bottom line is that you must show " a clear trail of name changes originating with the birth name to the current name."

For Non-Citizens:

  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Valid Passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees
  • Other government-issued documents showing your full name
  • Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence
  • If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) documents.

Both Citizens and Non-Citizens will need to bring:

  • Your Social Security Card or proof of your social security number.
    • A list of documents that provide proof of the social security number can be found on the What to Bring page.
  • Two documents that show your principal residence

Don't Wait, Don't Procrastinate

The simple fact is that once people start setting up their spring vacations early next year, they are going to realize they need a Florida REAL ID-compliant driver's license.

As a result, the lines and appointment slots could fill up pretty quickly. So now is the ideal time to get in line to get your REAL ID Florida driver's license.

And don't forget, if you don't already have a license with a REAL ID gold star in the upper right-hand corner, you can get one before your existing license is up for renewal. Just bring the documents listed above.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at InvestorPlace.com, Barchart.com, Medium.com, and Newsbreak.com as well as TalkMarkets.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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