I just got the notice from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles that my current driver's license will expire in a couple of months. It would be so easy for me to avoid that trip to the DMV and renew the license online, but it occurred to me that now might be the best time to go ahead and get the new REAL ID.

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If you are in the same boat and your current Louisiana driver's license will expire anytime before May of 2025, instead of just renewing your current license, you'll probably want to go ahead and apply for your REAL ID.

The original deadline for Louisiana residents to obtain their REAL ID was actually back in April of 2021.  However, it got pushed back to May 3, 2023, which was just three weeks ago.  Then, that deadline was moved back as well and the new deadline to obtain the REAL ID is coming on May 7, 2025.

After that date Louisiana residents will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, in order to access any federal facility, enter nuclear power plants, or board commercial aircrafts.

The card itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport or passport card, or state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License.

I'm taking an author's liberty with this, but if you have to have the REAL ID in order to board a plane, why won't all states require the REAL ID in order to vote? Seems a simple enough request to prove the legitimacy of the voter.  Just a thought.

Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles

Back to the subject at hand. To get your REAL ID, you'll need to spend a little time preparing and gathering the documents needed below.

Documents You'll Need To Establish Identity, Date Of Birth, And Lawful Status

According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, you'll need to provide at least one of the following to establish the applicant's identity and lawful status:

  • A valid, unexpired United States passport or passport card.
  • Original birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States. "State" includes the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico (must be certified as being issued on or after July 1,2010), or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Consular report of birth abroad issued by the United States Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545.
  • Certificate of naturalization issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Form N-550 or N-570.
  • Certificate of citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561, issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

You'll Also Need Documents to Establish Social Security Information

You'll also need to verify your Social Security information and the OMV says you can use any of the following documents to do that.

  • Social Security Card
  • W-2 Tax Form with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • SSA-1099 with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A non-SSA 1099 form with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A pay stub with the applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • If an applicant temporarily resides in the United States, he should visit the following link for information on social security requirements: Driver's License Issuance for Aliens Temporarily Residing in Louisiana. Verification proof is required from the Social Security Administration if the applicant is not eligible for a social security number.

And You Need Documents to Establish Principal Residence

You'll also need to present two original documents which include the applicant’s name and Louisiana street address. The documents must be from separate/independent sources. You can choose from these below:

  • Utility bills (i.e., water, sewer, gas, electric, cable/satellite TV, internet, telephone/cell phone, or garbage collection)
  • Financial statements (i.e., bank/credit union account, investment account, credit card account, or loan/credit financing)
  • Applicant's unexpired Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card that shows his current principal residence
  • Employer verification, including, but not limited to, one of the following: - Paycheck or paycheck stub - Letter from your employer on company letterhead - W-2 for earnings issued - Military orders issued
  • The applicant's parent, guardian, spouse or other immediate family member residing in the same household’s valid Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card. The family member must be present.
  • Health insurance statement or explanation of benefits (EOB) for claim or a health care bill/invoice
  • State of Louisiana or Federal income tax return or refund check
  • Social Security documentation including Social Security Annual Statement, Numerical Identification System record, or Social Security check
  • School record or transcript, report card, or student loan application
  • Homeowners insurance policy or premium bill
  • Mortgage, payment coupon, deed, escrow statement or property tax bill
  • Louisiana Voter Registration card
  • Auto-Insurance Policy
  • Unexpired Firearms License (Gun Permit)
  • I-797A or I-797C issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Refugee Address Verification Affidavit (DS-20)
  • Current, valid, rental contract/agreement and/or rent payment receipts for a home, apartment, mobile home, dorm, extended stay motel, retirement/assisted living home, or a letter from a shelter.

For any other questions, go to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles website at expresslane.org

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