NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Be ready when renewing license at the BMV office

If you are heading to the nearest Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to renew your driver’s license, beware! Since you only have to renew every six years if you are younger than 75, you may not yet realize that you will need to provide lots of additional documented information to get a new license.

Indiana now requires that all applicants for new driver’s licenses must meet Indiana REAL ID requirements. That means you need to present documents verifying your identity, Social Security number, lawful status and Indiana residency.

The REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” According to the Department of Homeland Security, “The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.”

Overall, states are still in the process of the 9/11 Commission recommendation, which has as its goal a more secure driver’s license in every state. Since the REAL ID Act was passed, half of all the states have met minimum standards, including Indiana.

While the process is voluntary for the states, the DHS wants remaining jurisdictions to follow suit.

REAL ID, according to the DHS, is a mandate on federal agencies, “restricting the circumstances under which they may accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes.”

According to the Indiana BMV, beginning in October 2020, you will be required to provide a Real ID license or identification card to fly on commercial flights and enter certain federal facilities.

Persons who are not citizens of the U.S. (those with temporary or permanent lawful status) are also required to have a Real ID, according to the BMV, “and must present full documentation to be issued a new credential, or to renew or amend a credential.”

So when you apply for a new driver’s license, permit or identification card, bring along original versions or certified copies of the following documents: 1. One document that proves your identity (such as birth certificate or passport); 2. One document that proves your lawful status in the U.S. (also such as birth certificate or passport); 3. One document proving your Social Security number (such as Social Security card, SSA-1099 form or W-2 form); and 4. Two documents proving your Indiana residency (such as Indiana voter registration card, survey of Indiana property or valid Indiana handgun permit).

If you have questions, go to the BMV website at or call the BMV toll-free at 1-888-692-6841.