The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, that establishes minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses – including CDLs – to be accepted for purposes like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight.
If you have a Maryland license with a star on the right-hand corner, you have a REAL ID license, but you may not have provided the required identification information at the time your license was issued/renewed to comply with the federal law.
Maryland driver’s license holders can go to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s REAL ID Look Up Tool (http://www.mva.maryland.gov/realid/realidlookup.htm) to enter their driver’s license or ID card number and determine their REAL ID status.
If the lookup tool indicates you need to provide additional documentation, do not panic. To avoid massive confusion and long lines at the MVA, the agency is sending announcements in batches to drivers who must come in and update their documents. June is the first in a series of staggered deadlines the agency has set. Approximately 75,000 drivers received the first notification with deadlines in June to comply. If you are among the first 75,000 drivers and do not come in, your license will be “recalled.” You will still be considered a licensed driver, but you may have your license confiscated if stopped by law enforcement.
If you were not among the initial 75,000 drivers who received a notice, you should receive one in a future month with a later deadline to update your documents with the MVA. The agency is sending notices to batches of drivers every month. All drivers needing to comply should receive a notice at least 6 months in advance of the federal enforcement deadline, which is October 1, 2020.