Louisiana residents who want to be able to get on airplanes and enter federal buildings and military bases need to get on the stick because the deadline to secure your state-issued Real ID is fast approaching. Traffic through processing centers that offer the Real ID have been brisk over the past couple of months with more than 100,000 of the state's residents securing the more secure identification document.

Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles

The evolution of the REAL ID stems from the attacks of 9/11 in 2001. Congress stirred by that attack passed the REAL ID act in 2005. That act required that the federal government set standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards that would meet or exceed federal standards for identification.

So basically, your REAL ID is a state-issued card that passes muster on the federal level. And if you like to fly on commercial airlines or enter certain government installations you're going to need such an ID.

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The deadline for securing your REAL ID is May 3, 2023. That's about 270 days or less than a year away. The Department of Homeland Security even has a countdown clock to help you monitor how much time you have left.

You will obtain your REAL ID through the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles but there are certain items you will need to bring with you in order to obtain "the gold star" on your state-issued license or ID card. They call it "gold star" because that emblem, a gold star, is imprinted on every valid REAL ID card.

You will need to provide at least one of the following to establish your identity and lawful status. ( This information is taken directly from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles website)

  • A valid, unexpired United States passport or passport card.
  • Original birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States. "State" includes the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico (must be certified as being issued on or after July 1, 2010), or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Consular report of birth abroad issued by the United States Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545.
  • Certificate of naturalization issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Form N-550 or N-570.
  • Certificate of citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561, issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

You will also need to provide proof of your status from the Social Security Administration. Among the items that have been deemed acceptable are the following:

  • Social Security Card
  • W-2 Tax Form with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • SSA-1099 with applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A non-SSA 1099 form with the applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • A pay stub with the applicant's name and full or partial Social Security Number
  • If an applicant temporarily resides in the United States, he should visit the following link for information on social security requirements: Driver's License Issuance for Aliens Temporarily Residing in Louisiana. Verification proof is required from the Social Security Administration if the applicant is not eligible for a social security number.

You will also need to provide proof of residency or Documents to Establish Principle Residence as the LA OMV site suggests:

  • Utility bills (i.e., water, sewer, gas, electric, cable/satellite TV, internet, telephone/cell phone, or garbage collection)
  • Financial statements (i.e., bank/credit union account, investment account, credit card account, or loan/credit financing)
  • Applicant's unexpired Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card that shows his current principal residence
  • Employer verification, including, but not limited to, one of the following: - Paycheck or paycheck stub - Letter from your employer on company letterhead - W-2 for earnings issued - Military orders issued
  • The applicant's parent, guardian, spouse or other immediate family member residing in the same household’s valid Louisiana driver's license, permit or identification card. The family member must be present.
  • Health insurance statement or explanation of benefits (EOB) for a claim or a health care bill/invoice
  • State of Louisiana or Federal income tax return or refund check
  • Social Security documentation including Social Security Annual Statement, Numerical Identification System record, or Social Security check
  • School record or transcript, report card, or student loan application
  • Homeowner's insurance policy or premium bill
  • Mortgage, payment coupon, deed, escrow statement or property tax bill
  • Louisiana Voter Registration card
  • Auto-Insurance Policy
  • Unexpired Firearms License (Gun Permit)
  • I-797A or I-797C issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Refugee Address Verification Affidavit (DS-20)
  • Current, valid, rental contract/agreement and/or rent payment receipts for a home, apartment, mobile home, dorm, extended stay motel, retirement/assisted living home, or a letter from a shelter.

No, you don't have to bring ALL of these things with you but to make the process smoother I suggest you have at least some of each if you can.

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

In preparation for several international flights that I have planned in the coming months, I went ahead and secured my REAL ID in October of last year. The process was actually very easy as long as you have the proper documentation as described above.

You can even get automated assistance in gathering the necessary documents by using this link from OMV, You're going to want to "Start Louie" to begin that process. Oh, and the REAL ID doesn't cost any more than a regular driver's license does.

Remember the deadline is less than a year away and it could take you a little while to gather all the pertinent documents and schedule an appointment to get your REAL ID created. Because a lot of people, just like you, have waited until the final months to take care of this chore.

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