Johnson City Press: Tennessee Department of Safety now issuing REAL ID required by October 2020

Tennessee Department of Safety now issuing REAL ID required by October 2020

Becky Campbell • Jul 9, 2019 at 8:19 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — If you’re planning to do business inside a federal building — with some exceptions —  or fly on a commercial airline after October 2020, your Tennessee  driver’s license or state identification card will no longer cut the mustard in proving you are who you are when a federal law Congress created through the REAL ID act of 2005 takes effect.

In an effort to beef up security throughout the nation after 9/11, lawmakers passed the legislation that established minimum security standards for driver’s licenses and ID cards. The visible designation for the REAL ID is a gold star on the upper right side of the license.

If you don’t travel by air, have no reason to go into a federal building or nuclear facility, there’s no need to get the new identification verification card, but otherwise, you do. Tennessee began issuing the REAL ID cards July 1 and more than 12,000 people already have them. There’s still plenty of time, but Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Driver License Services and TSA officials ended a statewide informational press conference Tuesday at Tri-Cities Airport.

One message was clear from officials who spoke — the REAL ID is not a national identification card and is not required to maintain a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, it will not have an RFID chip and will include three levels of security features that are resistant to counterfeiting.

You do not need a REAL ID to:

  • Drive.
  • Vote.
  • Purchase alcohol or cigarettes.
  • Access hospitals.
  • Visit the post office.
  • Access federal courts.
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

You will need to present the following documents when applying for a REAL ID:

  • Proof to establish citizenship or legal presence.
  • Proof of your full Social Security number.
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency.
  • You should also be prepared to provide documentation of any name changes that may have occurred.

All documents must be originals or certified. No photocopies will be accepted. Documents accepted include:

  • Home utility bill within past four four months, i.e. Gas,electric, water from different providers; Online bills must have URL address displayed. Wireless phone plans cannot be accepted.
  • Current Tennessee vehicle registration or certificate of title; may use one, not both.
  • Current Tennessee voter registration card.
  • IRS tax return from within last 12 months.
  • Bank statement from within past four four months,
  • Payroll check stub from within past four four months.
  • Current rental/mortgage contract or receipt, including deed of sale for property; handwritten rental contracts or agreements must be notarized.
  • Current homeowner or renter insurance policy.
  • Current automobile, life or health insurance policy.
  • These documents must show the applicant's name and physical address.
  • Receipt for personal property or real estate taxes paid within the previous year.
  • Installment loans, such as automobile, student loan, bank loans.
  • Current employer verification of resident address or letter from employer as long as it is on company letterhead with original signature; if employer does not have letterhead, then signature of employer must be notarized.
  • Current driver license or ID or handgun carry permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety to a parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant.
  • Applicant's driver license or ID or handgun carry permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

REAL ID driver's licenses and identification cards will be available at all driver services offices. For more information, visit the state’s website on REAL ID at

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