The Buzz

Do you have the right ID? Here’s how to get SC’s new driver’s license

South Carolinians planning to board a domestic airline after 2020 will need to pick up the state’s new driver’s license and identification card.

That new card, called REAL ID, also will be needed to enter a federal building or military installation after Sept. 30, 2020.

Drivers now can get the card at all 67 locations of the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles or online at The cost is $25.

The new driver’s license and ID card put South Carolina in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. The new ID —harder to obtain because it requires more documentation — is intended to help prevent future catastrophes such as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Motor Vehicles director Kevin Shwedo said Wednesday.

“That is what the new ID, the REAL ID, is designed to keep from happening,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “It’s a step. It’s a new step but, because of the times and threats we face, it’s a necessary step.”

The new driver’s license has a gold star in the right-hand corner of the card. Already, more than 18,000 South Carolinians have received one.

Shwedo said the new cards are valid for no more than eight years.

To get the card, unless the documents are already on file, all current license holders will need:

A government-issued birth certificate or valid U.S. passport

Proof of a Social Security number

Two proofs of their current S.C. address

Record of every name change

“If you are one of the 1.1 million people in this state that is actually pre-registered for a credential (driver’s license), or you’ve got your credential in the November 2010 timeframe forward, you already are qualified for the REAL ID,” Shwedo said.

South Carolinians do not need the new ID to drive, vote, or apply for or get federal benefits. They also do not need the new card to walk into a post office, a hospital or serve on a federal jury or testify in federal court.

Motor Vehicles also still will offer a non-REAL ID license, which states “not for federal identification.”

However, drivers who do not change their current license will need a U.S. passport or military ID card to go into any federal building or installation or board a domestic flight.

Shwedo said Motor Vehicles has hired roughly 100 new temporary workers to help cut down on long waiting lines and assist the agency in complying with REAL ID requirements, costing the state about $4.8 million over two years.

“If you do not want a REAL ID, and just want to renew (your driver’s license), do it online and avoid the lines,” Shwedo said. “We do not want to see your smiling faces at the DMV anymore than you want to be there.”

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter