MEMPHIS, Tenn. — REAL ID enforcement has been postponed several times, most recently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning May 7, 2025, you'll need a REAL ID to get inside certain federal facilities, military bases and board commercial flights within the U.S.
According to a press release, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security began issuing REAL IDs on July 1, 2019, and has issued more than 2 million REAL IDs to date.
Here's what you need to know if you want a REAL ID before it's enforced:
What alternative documents instead of a REAL ID are accepted?
A passport or other acceptable forms of ID found here can be used in place of a REAL ID.
What documents are needed to apply for a REAL ID?
To apply for a REAL ID, you'll need to bring one proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence, a valid Social Security Number, and two proofs of Tennessee residency. In addition, if there has been a name change, you'll need to bring a certified legal document supporting the name change with the approved documents. Those accepted documents can be found here.
All documents must be originals or certified. Photocopies won't be accepted. The Tennessee Department of Homeland Security suggests uploading your required documents beforehand.
Where can you apply for a REAL ID?
The first application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Services Center or participating County Clerk Partner. You can find participating locations here.
What if you don't need a REAL ID?
Those who don't wish to get a REAL ID will get a standard ID with "Not for REAL ID Act Purposes" on the front. Your current ID will continue to be accepted for driving, buying alcohol or tobacco products, applying for federal benefits, voting, and accessing hospitals, post offices and federal courts.
How much does a REAL ID cost?
If this is your first time applying for a REAL ID, it's $28. However, if you want to get a REAL ID outside of your renewal period, there will be a duplicate fee depending on your license classification. Click here to find the exact cost of your duplicate license.
More information about REAL ID in Tennessee can be found here.