CROWN POINT — Barbara Thompson was able to renew with relative ease her driver's license when it expired at the end of the year.

Upgrading her driver's license to REAL-ID status was another matter for the Winfield resident.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, a REAL-ID-compliant driver’s license, permit or identification card will be required by Indiana residents wanting to board commercial airplanes or enter certain federal facilities, said Christine Meyer, the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles communications director.

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

A REAL-ID is required for everyone applying for a new Indiana credential (driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card). Those who are not United States citizens (legal temporary or permanent residents) are required to have a REAL-ID and must present full documentation proving identity (name and date of birth), Social Security number, lawful status in the United States and Indiana residency.

Those who are renewing, amending or replacing their current Indiana credentials have the option of applying for a REAL-ID or a noncompliant credential, but are encouraged to obtain a REAL-ID-compliant credential, Meyer said.

To upgrade to REAL-ID, all customers must visit a BMV branch and bring the required documents. Only original versions or certified copies of the required documents will be accepted.

REAL-ID-compliant licenses and ID cards look the same as previous cards except they have a circle with a star in the top right corner of the credential, while non-compliant licenses and ID cards display “federal limits apply” on the face of the card.

"We're working to get the message out there so people know what to do," Meyer said.

Thompson went to the Crown Point BMV office armed with what she thought was the necessary paperwork. She had her birth certificate, Security Security card and two documents proving her residency, all neatly placed inside a manila folder.

What she didn't have was a copy of her marriage certificate, issued in 1960 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She could not be issued her REAL-ID when she visited the BMV.

Although frustrated and a little stressed by the experience, Thompson was undeterred.

Meyer said proving a name change, such as what was experienced by Thompson, is one of the the biggest issues when obtaining the REAL-ID.

"It causes the most questions," Meyer said.

Those name changes could involve marriage, adoption and court orders.

Meyer recommends people needing copies of marriage licenses contact the county clerk where they were married.

That worked for Thompson, who was able to locate what she had been told was her missing marriage license in El Paso County, Colorado. It cost her $2.50 to have a copy mailed to her.

She said she'll wait until 2020 to get her REAL-ID.

Those with questions about obtaining information for their REAL-ID can contact the Indiana BMV call center at 888-692-6841 and speak to a representative or go to REALID.IN.gov.

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