Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Common questions about REAL ID


What will happen if I do not have a REAL ID-compliant card and attempt to board a commercial aircraft, access a federal facility that requires identification to enter or enter a nuclear power plant?

  • The federal agency responsible for security of the airport, federal facility or nuclear power plant will determine whether to permit access/entrance or subject you to additional screening as prescribed by that agency.
  • No federal agencies have yet issued any guidance on how they will screen applicants after the individual compliance dates. Wisconsin DOT will update this information as it becomes available.

Can I still drive if I have a valid driver license that is not marked as REAL ID compliant?

Yes, it remains valid for all lawful driving purposes.

Can I still use my valid driver license or ID card for identification if it is not marked as REAL ID compliant?

Yes, your card is still a valid form of identification – other than for official federal purposes (boarding a commercial airline, entering a federal courthouse or accessing a nuclear power plant).

What if I change my mind? Can I get a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID later?

Yes, it will be treated as a duplicate license or ID, and a $14 or $16 fee will be charged.

Will a REAL ID-compliant card cost more than one that is not marked?


I no longer have my birth certificate with an official seal. What should I do?

If you were born in Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Information on how to obtain certified copies is available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/vitalrecords/birth.htm You may also consult with your county recorder as your record of birth may be on file in that office. If you were born outside of Wisconsin, contact your birth state’s vital statistics office. For information on where to write for vital records in other states, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website: www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm.

Once I obtain a REAL ID-compliant card, do I have to submit these documents again when it is time for renewal?

No. However, a person has temporary or permanent lawful status in the U.S. has to establish lawful status at each application (all non-U.S. citizens).

I have had a driver license or ID card in Wisconsin for many years. Why do I have to show documentation to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card?

Federal regulations require all persons that want a REAL ID-compliant card to have their identity, date of birth, Social Security number, residential address, and lawful status re-verified before being issued the card.

Is any kind of test required to get a REAL ID-compliant driver license?

If you are already licensed, you won't have to take a driver test or a knowledge exam, unless you need one for another reason.

Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service

Last modified: January 6, 2015

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