REAL ID Information

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REAL ID Information

What documents do I need?

What is REAL ID?

  • Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver licenses.” The state legislature passed and Governor Burgum signed the final implementation bill for REAL ID during the 65th Legislative Session in 2017.

What does REAL ID do?

  • REAL ID implements security processes designed to reduce identity fraud and provide the highest certainty that the individual with the identity document in front of you is who he or she says he or she is. Documents scanned will verify birthplace, current residence, etc.
  • It prohibits Federal agencies from accepting driver licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet requirements for official purposes such as: boarding an airplane or obtaining access to a federal building.

What does REAL ID not do?

  • It does not create a federal database or federally controlled or issued identification document. The U.S. Passport does that.
  • It does not replace a passport used for international travel such as visiting Canada or other countries.
  • It does not include an RFID chip in it. The Enhanced Driver License (EDL) does have the chip in it which provides information to a federal database.

When do I need to have a REAL ID driver license?

  • Your present license remains valid until its expired date, as North Dakota has received a waiver from the US Department of Homeland Security. This means your current ND driver’s license and identification card is accepted for access into federal facilities, including military installations and boarding aircraft until May 7, 2025.

What does a REAL ID Driver License do?

  • It allows a North Dakota resident to use their driver license as a form of identification to complete domestic airline travel and access a federal facility such as a federal courthouse or airbase.

What happens to the information collected?

  • Unlike a passport, the REAL ID information is scanned and retained in the state driver license system. It is state data so it is kept in-state only. The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 has no requirement for this data to be shared with anyone. We do not share personal private information except as provided in NDCC 39-33.
  • The bill approved by the legislature in 2017 makes these documents “not part of the public record,” so the security of the data is enhanced and unobtainable for non-official purposes.

What does the Opt-In feature mean?

  • The Opt-In Opt-Out feature enables you to have a choice on whether you want to get a REAL ID driver license or not. If you choose to Opt-In you will be able to use your driver license as a form of identification to complete domestic airline travel and access a federal facility.
  • The Opt-Out feature also lets you choose to Opt-Out of the REAL ID process and not obtain a REAL ID driver license. This means you will see no change in how you currently renew your driver’s license and you will not receive a REAL ID driver license. Some people may choose to Opt-Out because they plan to use their passport for identification when traveling or they don’t plan on doing any domestic airline travel or accessing of a federal facility.


North Dakota REAL ID Update

Real ID documents can be obtained at the following Driver License offices across the state during regular business hours. Please check the NDDOT website at for locations and hours.

Full-time Sites

Bismarck, Minot, Fargo, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Jamestown.

Part-Time Sites

Beulah, Bottineau, Bowman, Grafton, Harvey, Linton, Oakes, Rolla, Valley City, Wahpeton, and Watford City.

Additional Information

As of October 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security has provided a waiver to the State of North Dakota for compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. This means the current ND Driver License and Identification Card is accepted for access into federal facilities, including military installations and boarding aircraft, until May 7, 2025. After May 7, 2025, only REAL ID compliant credentials will be accepted for this purpose.

A few things to consider:

  • First time issued Real ID documents must be obtained in person at a Driver License site.
  • We have an online scheduling system which allows residents to make an appointment to obtain a REAL ID compliant credential.  We encourage you to make an appointment as office wait times will be impacted. 
  • The fee for a compliant credential is the same as the fee for a non-compliant credential. If you are renewing and keeping a non-compliant credential, it is $15. If you are renewing and upgrading to a REAL ID compliant credential, it is $15. If you are not renewing but getting a REAL ID compliant credential out of cycle, it is $8.
  • You are not required to obtain a REAL ID compliant credential. However, if you choose not to, the DL/ID will NOT be accepted for entry to federal facilities, such as military installations, or boarding of domestic flight airlines, after May 3, 2023.
  • Please be aware, there are some documents you will need in your possession before you arrive at the driver license office to get your REAL ID. Please see Required Documentation Information on the tab on the left side or if on a mobile device see information below.

Required Documentation Information

To obtain a REAL ID compliant driver license, permit, or ID card you must present proper documentation. The following documentation from each category 1, 2, 3 and 4 is required.

Make sure you have all the required documents.

Category 1

1. Proof of Identification

All individuals applying for a permit, license, or Identification card must show proof of identity, date of birth, legal presence in the United States, by presenting one of the documents listed below. As a reminder, no photocopies; no hospital certificates; all documents must be original or certified copies only:

  • U.S. birth certificate (state certified; Government issued)
  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  • Report of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card
  • Valid, unexpired Employment Authorization Card
  • Valid, unexpired Foreign Passport with I-94
  • I-94 Card stamped Refugee or Asylee

Individuals born in North Dakota may obtain a copy of their certified birth certificate by contacting Vital Records at the North Dakota Department of Health (visit for details.)
Individuals born in another state may access vital record offices through or

Category 2

2. Proof of Name Change

If your current name is different from the name on your identity document (above), you will need to bring additional proof of your legal name. Acceptable documents for proof of name change are:

  • Certified, Government Issued Marriage Certificate
  • Certified Adoption Document
  • Certified Court Order Authorizing a Name Change (no photocopies, court seal required).

Category 3

3. Proof of your social security number by presenting one of the documents listed below:

  • Social Security Card (the actual blue and white paper card)
  • W-2 Form
  • SSA 1099 Form
  • Non-SSA 1099 Form
  • Pay stub (must contain name and social security number)

Category 4

4. Proof of North Dakota residence address by presenting TWO documents from the list below. In the event you are unable to provide the required documents please contact 855-633-6835 for guidance on potential alternatives.

  • Most current government issued property tax statement
  • Current mortgage/lease/rental document
  • Current homeowners/renter's insurance policy
  • Current utility bill (electricity, gas, water, sewer, cable, recycle)
  • School/College Transcript issued within 6 months
  • Current financial statement (issued by financial institution, government entity, government regulated entity)
  • Current pay stub or statement from employer
  • Current vehicle insurance policy/statement
  • Current resident certificate or Tribal ID issued by a North Dakota Tribe with North Dakota resident address
  • Current formal resident statement issued by property owner/renter
  • Relief Agency or Shelter Certification
  • Parent's proof of address for minor child (under 18)

All documents must contain your name and current physical residence address. Post Office boxes are NOT acceptable for residence address. No photocopies, all documents must be original or certified copies only.