INDIANAPOLIS — State officials are encouraging Hoosiers to visit a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office to upgrade their driver's license or state identification card to a REAL ID-compliant credential.

REAL ID is a federally mandated security standard, enacted following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, that's intended to ensure every state follows similar processes for issuing and producing driver's licenses and state identification cards.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, Hoosiers lacking a REAL ID license or identification card will be prohibited from boarding commercial airplanes, and barred from entering federal courthouses, military bases, nuclear power plants and similar security sensitive facilities.

"Upgrading sooner, rather than later, saves time and it can help avoid flight or accessibility issues in the future," said BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy.

To obtain a REAL ID, Hoosiers must provide a document proving identity and lawful status in the United States, such as a birth certificate or passport; proof of Social Security registration, such as a Social Security card or W-2 statement; and two documents, such as a computer-generated bill and bank statement, that prove Indiana residency.

A full list of acceptable documents is available online at realid.in.gov.

New Indiana driver's license and identification card applicants only can obtain a REAL ID credential.

However, current card holders have been permitted to renew their credentials without upgrading, leaving many Hoosiers potentially at risk of being unable to travel by air unless they take action before October 2020.

Hoosiers can check if their credential is REAL ID-compliant. It will have a gold star outline in the upper right corner.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Janet Holcomb, Indiana's first lady, recently upgraded their driver's licenses during a roughly 15-minute visit to a Statehouse BMV office that's working to provide REAL ID upgrades to state employees and members of the General Assembly.

Holcomb said afterward: "This was easy peasy, and I'd encourage everyone to do it sooner rather than later."

The first-term Republican, who normally is not a fan of federal mandates, said he didn't mind that the requirement to upgrade to REAL ID is being imposed on states and their residents by Washington, D.C.

"It's understandable," Holcomb said. "We're all about safety and security and we want to play our part."

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community. Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

4
4
2
2
26

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.