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If your Nevada driver’s license is expiring, consider a Real ID

If your Nevada driver's license is up for renewal sometime soon, you might want to take on your visit to a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office not only a good book but a few other works of literature, too.

A passport, maybe. And a W-2 tax form. Even a current utility bill or two.

Nothing against that new novel, but it's that collection of more pedestrian documents that'll score you a Real ID-compliant driver's license that will come in handy over the next few years as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes its conversion to requiring more secure documents for use at airport security checkpoints.

As the timetable now stands, residents of Real ID-compliant states — and Nevada is among them — will be able to use their current driver's licenses at airport checkpoints until Oct. 1, 2020. However, on that date, only Real ID-compliant driver's licenses will be accepted as identification at airports and at federal facilities where identification is required.

The Nevada DMV says there's no need for Nevadans to rush out and get Real ID cards now. But when renewing a license, or getting a first Nevada license, before Oct. 1, 2020, the convenience that a Real-ID license can offer while traveling is worth considering.

Congress passed the Real ID Act of 2005 in an effort to combat terrorism, identity theft and fraud involving the use of state-issued identification cards. Toward that end, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Real ID law established "minimum security standards" for state-issued driver's licenses, and prohibited federal agencies from "accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet" those new minimum standards.

Nevada already is in compliance with the Real ID law. To obtain a Real ID-compliant license, Nevadans must take to the DMV one document proving identity and legal presence (a state-issued birth certificate or valid U.S. passport, for example), proof of their Social Security number (a Social Security card, W-2 form or IRS Form 1099, for example), and two documents proving Nevada residency (for instance, a mortgage or rent receipt, utility bill or bank statement).

Real ID-compliant Nevada licenses are optional for Nevadans, said Kevin Malone, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, and the state will continue to issue standard, non-Real ID licenses even after the 2020 deadline for those who don't want a Real ID license or don't have the documentation required to get one.

However, Nevadans who wish to continue using their driver's license at airport security checkpoints after 2020 eventually will need to obtain one.

For those without non-Real ID state licenses or ID cards, the Transportation Security Administration will continue to consider such documents as valid U.S. passports and military IDs acceptable forms of identification at airport security checkpoints, although many Americans have become accustomed to using a driver's license to board a plane.

Malone says most Nevadans who are renewing their licenses aren't yet opting for a Real ID-compliant license, while most people who are getting their first Nevada driver's licenses are. In many cases, he says, applicants lack the more extensive documentation required for a Real ID.

According to Malone, upgrading a standard Nevada driver's license to a Real ID-compliant license, with no other changes made to the license, will cost $9.25.

The good news, Malone said, is that Nevadans can continue to use their standard, current licenses at airports until the licenses expire or until Oct. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. And, before Oct. 1, 2020, they can simply opt for a Real ID license when their licenses come up for renewal or when getting a first Nevada driver's license.

Opting for a Real ID-compliant license offers Nevadans benefits beyond convenience while traveling. For instance, Malone says, "you'll have to show the documentation (at the DMV) once."

"The other advantage," he adds, "especially for a transient state like Nevada, is that you can use the Real ID-compliant license to get another license in another state. If you move, you don't need to show your birth certificate again. A Real ID-compliant license is acceptable by (other) Real ID-compliant states."

The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it will be conducting public information campaigns between now and the 2020 cutoff to educate travelers about Real ID. But, Malone says, "we're finding that most people are aware of it because they're reading our website before they come in."

For more information, visit the Department of Homeland Security website (www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs) and the Nevada DMV's website (http://dmvnv.com/realid.htm).

Read more from John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com and follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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