NEWPORT—Cocke County will soon join other Tennessee counties in the issuance of REAL ID driver licenses.
Set to begin locally in August, the issuance of the Real ID driver licenses adheres to the REAL ID Act of 2005 to establish minimum security standards for license issuance and production.
The new licenses will include a gold star in a circle in the upper right corner. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, they will be required before the owner can board a domestic (US) flight, enter a federal facility that requires ID, enter a nuclear power facility, or enter a military base.
“Drivers opting not to get a REAL ID license,” said Cocke County Clerk Jan Brockwell, “will receive a license without the star and with the phrase “Not for Federal Identification.”
The Tennessee REAL ID compliant license will include three levels of security features that are resistant to counterfeiting.
The licenses will be good for eight years, starting with the date of issuance. “This is different from the regular driver licenses that are renewed at a driver’s birthday,” said Cocke County Clerk Jan Brockwell.
According to a REAL ID fact sheet, issued by the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act of 2005 prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. It also creates a nationwide effort to prevent terrorism, reduce identity theft and fraud, and improve reliability of identity documents issued by states.
Brockwell explained, “You do NOT need a REAL ID in order to drive, vote, purchase alcohol or cigarettes, access hospitals, visit the post office, access federal courts, or apply for or receive federal benefits such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.”
Before a REAL ID license is issued, a driver must have verified documentation of lawful status in the United States (e.g. U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or authorized stay), Social Security number with the Social Security Administration, proof of Tennessee residence, and proof the driver does not hold multiple licenses in multiple identities in Tennessee or another state.