The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has recalled the driver’s licenses of 8,000 residents because they failed to meet requirements to be in compliance with the Real ID Act — a federal law designed to tighten security for state-issued identification.

That means if any of those drivers are pulled over by police for any reason, the officer could confiscate their driver’s license.

If you are one of the 8,000, the MVA says you can avoid having your license confiscated by presenting the required paperwork — proof of age and identity, your Social Security number and Maryland residency — to an MVA branch.

Those required to file documents received their licenses starting in 2016, when the MVA began issuing Real ID licenses and identification cards under a process that at the time was approved by the federal government. But in late 2017, the Department of Homeland Security notified the state that all drivers who had the new Real ID would also need to have scanned copies of the documents that prove their identity and U.S. residency on file at the MVA.

Do you have questions about Real ID? We’ve got answers.

Another 780,000 Maryland drivers with the state-issued Real ID license — identified by a star in the upper-right corner — also don’t have the necessary documentation on file, according to the MVA. That number is down from about 1 million earlier this year. To avoid a crush at MVA offices, the state divided drivers into groups and gave them staggered deadlines. The first group was due to file documents this summer.

The 8,000 whose licenses have been recalled are among the first group who were required to present additional documentation; they had a June deadline, which then was extended to July 3. The state said they failed to respond, despite having received multiple warnings since December.

“These customers received more than six notices, and if they had previously provided a phone number they also received a personal phone call as the compliance deadline approached,” MVA spokeswoman Adrienne Diaczok said. She said the MVA is sending yet another electronic reminder to the group about their recall status, urging them to visit a branch office as soon as possible to present documents.

So far, three of those drivers have had their licenses confiscated by law enforcement, Diaczok said. All three have submitted their documents and have their licenses back, she said.

A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. (A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration)

A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. (A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration)

In June, the MVA started mailing notices to a second group of drivers — about 150,000 — who have until November to get their documents on file.

“We’ve made great strides in getting customers to our offices to satisfy the federal REAL ID requirements,” Diaczok said, noting that they are seeing an increase in appointments at the MVA.

1 million Maryland drivers with state-issued Real ID licenses still are not compliant

Some Maryland leaders have expressed concern about police confiscating driver’s licenses. Del. Eric Ebersole (D-Howard) last week sent a letter to MVA Administrator Christine Nizer saying the practice would create problems, because it’s illegal to drive without a license. He pledged to introduce emergency legislation that would require police, after confiscating a driver’s license, to leave the driver with a document that would function as a temporary license.

“I’m concerned about this potential unfairness to drivers,” Ebersole wrote in the Aug. 8 letter. Ebersole said the soonest his legislation could take effect is next year and asked Nizer to make policy changes to address the problem sooner.

The new license was designed to comply with the Real ID Act, a law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to tighten security for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification. It aims to prevent identity fraud and sets minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs. Applicants are required to provide proof of identity and legal U.S. residency to obtain the new ID.

Beginning in fall 2020, the only driver’s licenses that will be accepted for purposes such as boarding commercial flights will be those that meet federal Real ID requirements. Enforcement at federal buildings and military bases began in 2014. Those without a Real ID license will be able to provide another acceptable form of identification such as a valid U.S. passport.

TSA warns air travelers that the Real ID deadline will be here before you know it

The MVA website has a lookup tool that people can use to check whether their file is missing documents. It also provides a checklist of documents needed and facilitates making an appointment at the MVA.

A U.S. birth certificate or valid U.S. passport can be used as proof of identity. You can provide your original Social Security card or a W-2 or SSA-1099 to prove a Social Security number; and proof of residency can be shown with documents such as a bank statement, insurance card, vehicle registration, utility bill or mail from a federal, state or local government agency.

According to the state, more than half of Marylanders are REAL ID compliant. MVA officials said more notices will go out this summer and fall as the state scrambles to get everyone holding a Real ID in compliance before the hard national deadline of Oct. 1, 2020.

The Department of Homeland Security last week recertified Maryland’s REAL ID program, validating the state’s procedures as in compliance with the federal law.

(27) comments


KR/CD, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad that you are back. BTW, I was kind of concerned about you after your great comments at the time about the guy in the news who had HIV/AIDS. After that, you weren't commenting. To myself, I was so aggravated at the unjust pouncing on you. You said nothing sexist or any other labeling. You were actually espousing the standard advice to women when the whole subject was on the forefront years ago. When I was still working in the Federal Government, all of the employees including all management (in my Agency, at least) had to attend MANDATORY training on the subject of HIV/AIDS. In addition; the advice was in various publications at the time, which stated that (especially) women needed to be careful not to get involved so soon (to put it vaguely).

Anyway, I'm glad that you are with us again and hope that you are okay. I always appreciate your views and well said commentary.


Thank you for your kind words also sue, I've always had the utmost respect for your thoughts. Yeah, when I got all the crap that I did for my comments on that HIV/AIDS story, I was pretty damned well disgusted, probably the most I've ever been, with certain commenters here and I needed a break from their garbage. In their own tiny, twisted minds they're the only ones who are right, the only ones whose opinions matter and, since the FNP would never tolerate the language I would have used to express my own opinion of them, I thought it best to just take a break from their crap. But yeah, I'm back, and ready to throw back at them exactly what they throw at me, again. And with a vengeance. And you please keep expressing your views and commendable commentaries also, I know that I'm not the only one who appreciates them. [thumbup]


By which I meant to say Maryland decided in 2011 to be compliant with Federal Real ID. Apparently a state can opt out of that.


This is a federal requirement as per the Dept of Homeland Security. For those worried that certain agencies or individuals will obtain your personal information, that ship sailed a long time ago.


Homeland Security provides a FAQ sheet (see: Homeland Security) that includes the following:

REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions for the Public :

REAL ID does not apply to the following:

• Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification

• Voting or registering to vote

• Applying for or receiving Federal benefits

• Being licensed by a state to drive

• Accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant's access to court proceedings)

• Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

NOTE that the 4th bullet down states that REAL ID does NOT apply to, "Being licensed by a state to drive." This allows the the state to issue driver's licenses strictly for the purpose of driving.


And again, my 97 year old MIL, who is in a nursing home and using a wheelchair, uses her DL strictly as a form of photoID. Her DL is expiring and she was told she needs to get a REALID also. She doesn’t understand and we don’t either. Same requirements, we were told, for just getting a Maryland ID card. How are all the seniors expected to adhere to these bogus Maryland requirements?


So, whether we are talking about the (as an earlier FNP article said) "approximately 80,000 customers who were notified that they need to update their licenses to comply with the federal REAL ID law”,... Or the 8000 drivers who are now needlessly (and unlawfully) at risk of having their 100% valid and IN COMPLIANCE drivers licenses confiscated by the police.. ..again, the "final rule" of the RealID Act, makes no "blanket" demand. It is applicable ONLY in instances of someone who will be flying or entering into US Government secured areas. Now if every single one of those 80k or 8k drivers will be doing either one of those 2 things, then yes, they will NEED a Real ID (actually a U.S. Passport will suffice, for flying) . Otherwise, NO, they do NOT. And they should NOT be FORCED by our over-reaching (it's authority), over-bearing, and over-burdened (as is evidenced in this fiasco) MVA to get one.


As was noted by another comment, while the State of MD must be Real ID compliant, there is NO actual requirement (other than the MD MVA forcing everyone to) for a citizen or a driver to HAVE a Real ID license, UNLESS that person is going to be flying on a domestic passenger flight or entering into a secure US Government facility. The MVA and State if MD should be sued (class action, with compensory damages awarded to any and all joining in the suit) for not making the provision, as the Real ID "final rule" allows for, and as other states do, for issing non Real ID licenses to those who are in no need of one. Like myself. The other thing MD MVA is doing, while not required by the law, (and is specifically addressed in it) is scanning and keeping on file in their database, an electronic image of one's birth certificate. They should be sued for that as well.


Tom Wheatley, the article did not fail to mention it, you failed to read it. "The MVA website has a lookup tool that people can use to check whether their file is missing documents. It also provides a checklist of documents needed and facilitates making an appointment at the MVA." The website works. KR, I had no issues with Real ID and would not with either governor. I'm a real American with genuine documentation. If you have that, you'll be fine.


My apologies. I was looking for an URL within the article. And clarification or mention of the $20 would have been a nice touch.


jth, if by a "real" American you mean a legal citizen, then I am one also. I have certified copies of my birth certificate, the original social security card I was issued in 1970, my third passport (they have to be renewed every 10 years, you know,) and any and all other documents required by the MVA to obtain a Real ID. What I have a problem with is the state trying to make people believe that these IDs are required by federal law, and the state also scanning my personal information into their data base which could be hacked into by someone knowledgeable enough to do so and stolen. If you have no problem with that then I guess you trust the MVA more than a lot of us do.


This also applies to obtaining a Marylinistan photo ID. If you want just a photo ID you must also follow the document requirements for obtaining a Real ID! I’ll just tell my 97 year old MIL to keep using her soon to be expired DL as her only photo ID. Who she is hasn’t expired, only her “right” to drive. DMV specifically asks you if you are a Us citizen or legal immigrant and tells you what documents are required. If you tell them “NO” you are an undocumented immigrant then there is another list of documents needed or a “regular” DL. As mentioned, Marylinistan, DO NOT have an option to get a “regular” DL. I for one sure as heck don’t want my birth certificate or passport scanned and kept in DMVs database. Not where a minimum wage employee has an opportunity to misuse it!


Agreed 100% User! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]


I renewed my license with documents around 2016. Told things were OK, but no Red Star. The Feds told Maryland they messed up in 2017 and I find out about it in 2019 per the website. The article failed to mention one can check their driver license number and receive an answer as to if one needs to come in or not.

On an aside, one gets a little more with the print version, namely the 2 sentences " A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. (A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license. Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration)" show up 4 times in print and not just the two times here. I guess there was a missing photo.


so if i have a star on my license I am ok and don't need to go to MVA?


That's a damned good question Reader. First it says "Another 780,000 Maryland drivers with the state-issued Real ID license — identified by a star in the upper-right corner — also don’t have the necessary documentation on file, according to the MVA." Then it says "A sample Maryland driver’s license. The star in the upper-right corner signals that it is a Real ID license." I interpret that to mean that, even though the Real ID licenses with stars have been issued, you will still have to take the required documents to the MVA to be recorded (which I believe a lot of people are doing these days.) If that's the case, why were the star licenses issued in the first place without the documents? Why weren't people just notified that the documents were to be required when they renewed their licenses before they expired? My guess is Maryland really dropped the ball when it became time to comply with the Real ID law enacted back in 2005, 14 years ago, because two years after the law took effect, Martin O'Malley became governor and he was more concerned with helping illegal aliens then complying with a federal law. Either way, from what I understand, Maryland's negligence has caused a real scramble in the MVA to catch up now.


KR (CD?), I had the same questions. I got my license renewed in 2015 and it does not have a star. BTW; side issue, but it was reported on five days ago, that a Manassas man conspired with two MVA employees to issue over 276 (fake) drivers licenses to illegal aliens. The man pleaded guilty to the crime. I thought that was interesting. (This was a Federal case). - Always a scheme to illegally "get over" on the system. When I read about it, I also thought about how our Sheriff Jenkins gets vilified by the hate group for "profiling" people riding in cars. He has the right idea. Who knows how many are drivers without licenses and/or fake ones. I've known people who have been in car accidents (not their fault) with illegals (in another county) who initially stopped, but then sped off. It ended up dealing with "uninsured drivers" in connection with their car insurance. The aforementioned case on can still be viewed by Googling the case by stating "man pleads guilty in fraud scheme with Maryland drivers licenses." Of course, the article provides more information that what I'm stating here.


I got my license renewed in 2017 and it has a star on it even though I never took any of the required paperwork in. When I enter my license number to check on my status with the MVA ( I get the notification "No. Documents will not be needed for your next Maryland Driver's License or ID card transaction. You may be eligible to complete your next transaction online at the MDOT MVA eStore." So I have no clue what's going on other than from all the research I've done, federal law does not require anyone who has a passport, or will not need access to a secure federal facility, to have one. Which makes me question how can The Socialist State of Maryland force anyone to get one who declines to do so? And, along that line, how can Maryland "recall" 8000 licenses which are perfectly legitimate, inconveniencing those drivers? I agree with another commenter in that a class action lawsuit against the state would be in order. And, by the way, I still really enjoying your comments, as always sue. KR (fka CD.)


Go to and enter your license number. Although I renewed in early 2016 with the right documents, I missed the boat per the scanning of said documents. Not obvious if I would get hit with a $20 fee to cover Maryland's mistake.

Although it’s not time yet for you to renew, documents will be needed for your next Maryland Driver's License or ID card transaction. If you would like to present documents early and obtain the Secure Maryland Driver’s License or ID card, please CLICK HERE to begin gathering your documents and to schedule an appointment at a MDOT MVA branch office. To obtain a duplicate or corrected Maryland Driver's License or ID card you will need to present documents. A $20 fee will apply.


My husband and I have the star. We got letters about this yesterday though and have made separate appointments at the MVA.


Get on DMV’s website, put in your DL # and it will tell you if you are “valid” or need to bring in required paperwork.


Maryland is one of the only (if not the only state) that has interpreted the "Real ID Act" to mean that ALL licenses must be REAL ID compliant... If you read the Real ID Act, you can see that it DOES allow for licenses to be issued for driving purposes only... those licenses are to clearly state this in some manner. And the electronic scanning of all documents disturbs me... Once scanned, here you will have a total record of one's personal identification - sounds like a certain potential for ID theft from hackers...


I’m surprised the liberals haven’t complained about this law yet. All it does is identify a citizen/legal immigrant and undocumented immigrants. Even though the law says you need a “Real ID” for travel or entering government facilities the DMV is REQUIRING you to have one reguardless. You cannot get a plain drivers license unless your are undocumented. If you are a citizen or documented immigrant then you must get one. Check the DMV webpage. My 97 year old mother in law has a DL she uses strictly as a photo ID since she does not drive and is in a nursing home. She must get a Real ID also! Even for a plain Maryland photo ID. If you do not travel by air, plan to cross any borders or have other official government ID like a passport or military ID you shouldn’t have to get a Real ID. And how secure are the DMV databases? They scan your documents...birth certificate, social security cards, etc.

The Grape of Wrath

So feds violate the law when they fly or bus illegals across the border?


Not required in those cases. Apparently you don't know the laws as well as you think you do, or would have us believe you do.


Sue the MD MVA for abusing it's authority, by requiring every MD resident to get a Real ID, something that is not required by law. And for keeping electronic images of birth certificates when not required by law.


Yep, the new federal REALID act states you can use your DL if it is a REALID DL. Maryland is the only state REQUIRING EVERYONE to get a REALID reguardless if you travel or visit federal buildings. Only in Marylinistan!!!

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