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More than 66,000 Marylanders will need to prove their residency in order to receive a new Real ID driver’s license. But one agency taking on extra work, as a result, is the Frederick County Health Department.

Real ID is a federal measure to create secure standards for identification cards, such as a driver’s license, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. Although Maryland began issuing Real ID licenses, indicated by a start at the top of the Maryland-flag-designed licenses, the measure also requires documents showing residency, Social Security status and age.

Of the documents showing age, people can bring in a birth certificate, a U.S. passport that is valid or expired less than five years ago, a naturalization or citizenship certificate, adoption records, a consular report of birth abroad or a permanent resident card, according to MDOT.

But the birth certificate that many receive upon birth from the hospital is not a valid document accepted by the Motor Vehicle Administration. Instead, people need to get their certificate from their health department.

And as the more than 66,000 people scramble to get documents ready to meet the deadline, the Frederick County Health Department is seeing an influx of people, said Rissah Watkins, the department's director of planning, assessment and communication.

A valid birth certificate includes “Certificate of Live Birth” and has impressed seals on the bottom corners, as well as watermarks.

To get a birth certificate from the health department, people must fill out a request form, which can be found on the department’s website, and bring photo identification to the health department. The health department charges $20 for a birth certificate.

People who bring a government-issued photo identification card can get their birth certificate the same day. Those who do not have a photo ID need to provide two other forms of identification, such a bank statement, a Social Security card or pay stub, and will get it mailed to them.

The birth and death certificate office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio.

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(6) comments


Did anyone understand the second to last sentence of the article?


I renewed my license in 2016 and had the various pieces of paperwork with me. No little star on the license, but I was told it was AOK. Now, in checking on the MVA site, my license is NOT the right one I need to board a plane in 2020, but I can bring documents when it comes up for renewal in 2025. Or expedite now for a mere $20 to fix MD's mistake.


I was notified 6 months ahead of needing my new license. The problem I had was the woman at the kiosk said I couldn't use my NY certificate of birth registration (different than the actual birth certificate, but was original with signatures and state seal embossed). She said I need the birth certificate despite my original certificate of birth registration which stated it was legal proof of age and place of birth. I didn't want to pay $35 for a birth certificate and $25 more to have it expedited (otherwise it could take 8 - 12 weeks) so I e-mailed the state's attorney general's office and they agreed with me that the MVA should have taken my certificate of birth registration and they helped me with my trip back to the MVA by alerting the supervisors of that office I was coming and that they should accept my documentation.


I went and took the necessary ID's. I walked out with the same license I walked in with. What is the point of this?


I'm one of 66,000. The MD-DMV really messed this process up with their mis-commucations.


Yeah, they never alerted me. I found out from the article last week and made my appt. All done, I wanted to beat the rush, but it would have been nice to have actually been notified by the state...

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