REAL ID in Connecticut: Requirements & What to Know
From May 3, 2023, any Connecticut resident wishing to fly anywhere in the US, visit federal facilities, or a military base should have a REAL ID license or a US passport.
A REAL ID is a verified driver’s license or identification card with a gold star in the top right corner. It is a federal requirement passed by Congress in 2005. It primarily acts as a counterterrorism measure.
Here’s what you should know about CT REAL ID.
What is a REAL ID?
REAL ID is a post 9/11 federal requirement for state-issued driver licenses and IDs to combat fraud and forgery. It sets higher security protocols that prevent unauthorized copying or alteration of identity documents.
You need this new form of identification to travel by air and visit federal facilities like courthouses and military bases.
The REAL ID concept was an adoption of the 9/11 Commission recommendation. Initially, some states opposed this requirement, but currently, all states are on board.
Connecticut is among the states that comply with this federal requirement.
So, if you’re in Connecticut, you probably have a CT verified driver’s license. This state began complying with this law way back in 2011. Identity verification mainly targets first-time applicants and those renewing their licenses or ID cards.
Who Needs a REAL ID?
You need a REAL ID if you’re a US resident who lacks a passport and frequently:
- Boards airplanes for domestic travel
- Visits federal facilities
- Visits military bases
Getting identity verification in CT is optional. You don’t require a REAL ID-compliant license if you already have:
- A valid US passport
- An enhanced driver’s license CT
- A DHS Trusted Traveler Card
If you’re a frequent air traveler, you need to check the Transportation Security Administration‘s page to determine alternative documents you can use.
You may survive without a REAL ID if you rarely board planes or don’t visit government facilities.
You still need your CT license and ID for state identification. However, the standard CT driver’s license now has a “Not for Federal Identification” disclaimer at the top.
Who is Eligible for REAL ID?
REAL ID is available to US citizens and permanent residents.
A certified copy of a US birth certificate or a valid US passport is sufficient proof of US citizenship.
Permanent residents might need valid permanent resident cards (like green cards) to show lawful existence in the US.
You can’t issue a REAL ID if you only have a Drive Only license.
What Documents do you Require?
If you’re a CT resident, you should apply for a CT REAL ID through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Of course, you should bring relevant documents.
Below are CT DMV ID requirements.
- Two proofs of Connecticut residency: They could be utility bills, bank statements, or similar documents. The dates must be within 90 days.
- Proof of identity or legal residence: You need a US passport, US birth certificate, or a permanent resident card.
- Social security card.
If you changed your name at any point, you’d need to provide documentation of the change. Court orders and marriage certificates are some of the documents that support a name change.
Steps of Getting a REAL ID in CT
Getting a REAL ID is straightforward. Here are the steps you ought to follow.
Step 1: Gather Documents
So, what do you need for a verified license in CT? As mentioned earlier, you require at least three different documents.
You should provide a primary form of identification, a secondary form of identification (social security card), and proof of residency in Connecticut.
Name-change documentation might be necessary if your current name differs from the name on your birth certificate.
You may require your current driver’s license if you obtained it from another state.
If you are a non-citizen, you must bring along documents that establish your legal presence in the US.
Ensure you have these documents before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Visit a DMV or Partner Location
The next step is bringing your documents to a CT DMV office or any partner office. First-time license/ID applicants must apply for a REAL ID at a full-service DMV location.
Remember that you need to make in-person visits to these offices. Ensure you make an appointment before visiting.
You’ll find DMV hub offices in the following locations.
Partner offices like DMV Express also process verified driver’s licenses and ID cards. You’ll find such offices in:
- North Haven
- Old Saybrook
- West Hartford
Step 3: Get Your REAL ID
Once you submit the necessary documents, the DMV office will verify your identity, social security number, name changes, and CT residency. Non-US citizens may be subject to verification using the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program.
In most cases, your REAL ID will be available via mail within 3-4 weeks. Make a follow-up if it doesn’t arrive within 60 days.
A gold star on a driver’s license means you’re verified.
This verification is a one-time review. You won’t undergo this process again unless there is a future change in the law.
How Much Does a CT REAL ID Cost?
If you aren’t renewing your license/ID card, you’ll pay a one-time $30 duplicate fee to get a REAL ID in Connecticut.
If you’re due for renewal, you’ll pay the regular CT renewal fees. The charges are:
- $22.50 for a six-year ID card renewal
- $72 for a six-year license renewal
- $96 for an eight-year license renewal
- $24 for a two-year renewal license (for persons aged 65 years or above)
- $70 for a four-year license renewal (commercial driver’s license)
When Should I Get a REAL ID?
According to the Department of Homeland Security, they pushed the REAL ID enforcement deadline date forward to May 3, 2023.
Despite the enforcement date being far off, getting a CT verified driver’s license early is advisable. You might encounter longer waits when you apply for a REAL ID towards 2023.
A CT REAL ID enables you to visit federal facilities and to board domestic flights. You have to visit CT’s DMV offices to make your license REAL ID compliant. Some of the vital requirements needed include a US birth certificate, a social security card, and proof of residency in Connecticut.