Are You Real ID Ready? A Guide to Getting Real ID Ready in Louisiana

March 25, 2022

Over 2.9 million people fly in and out of U.S. airports each day.* With COVID-19 cases declining, do you plan to join the many and fly soon? If so, a big change to how airports verify your identity is coming.  

Beginning May 3, 2023, all domestic air travelers will be required to have a Real ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification such as a U.S. passport or passport card. This means, in a little over a year, you may need to go get your Louisiana license or identification card Real ID ready. Therefore, Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company has put together a guide to help you get Real ID ready in Louisiana.

What Is Real ID?

The purpose of Real ID is to establish a consistent and, most importantly, a secure form of identification that protects you against fraud and identity theft as well as acts of terrorism. 

The Real ID Act was created in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, some of the hijackers from these terrorist attacks used state-issued IDs to board the aircrafts. In the hopes to create a set standard of sources of identification, the Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. Thus, the Real ID Act prohibits federal agencies that require you to present identification, such as airports, military bases, and federal courthouses, from accepting a state issued ID that is not Real ID-compliant. 

Where To Get One

First, you cannot obtain a Real ID online. You will need to visit a local office of motor vehicles or, to avoid the crowded DMV, you can pay an additional convenience fee and obtain one at a notary and title office that is Real ID-compliant.

What Documents Do I Need?

To understand what documents are required, you must first understand what it is they are verifying. Real ID verifies your identity, lawful status, date of birth, social security information, and two (2) proofs of residence. 

Most applicants’ documents include:

1.    A birth certificate or unexpired passport
2.    A social security card
3.    Two proofs of residence, such as a valid Louisiana driver’s license and utility bill 

Other documents used to verify your social security information include a tax form such as a W-2 or a pay stub that includes your name along with your full or partial social security number. If your name has changed due to marriage, you can simply include your marriage certificate as well. 

How Much Does It Cost?

A Real ID will cost the same as a Louisiana driver’s license or identification card. As of January 2022, a Louisiana personal driver’s license cost ranges between $13.00 to $38.75 and a Louisiana identification card cost ranges between $0-$33.00.** The cost is based on your age, whether it is a duplicate or renewal, and the motor vehicles office you choose. Additionally, if you choose to obtain one from a notary or title office there will be an added convenience fee. 

What is the Typical Processing Time?

It can take up to 30 days to receive a Real ID-compliant credential. You can call the office you plan to apply at and ask the current processing time. Once you are Real ID-compliant, a small gold circle with a star cutout will appear on the top right corner of your identification. 

If you have Louisiana’s digital driver’s license through LA Wallet, the Real ID-compliant license will be processed and available to you as soon as it is approved. However, keep in mind, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not currently accept mobile or electronic identification.

Additional Resources

Even though the deadline of May 3, 2023 is over a year away, we recommend you obtain a Real ID sooner rather than later. A few additional resources include:

●    Department of Homeland Security interactive tool to find out if you are Real ID ready
●    Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles Real ID checklist and interactive tool called Louie to help identify what documents you need
●    Locations you can apply from in Louisiana 
Lastly, Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company is committed to being the bank that cares about you. With the right tools and resources, you can make informed decisions. We hope by providing this guide you can obtain a Real ID before the deadline of May 3, 2023.

*Federal Aviation Administration
**Louisiana Department of Public Safety Office of Motor Vehicles