What is a REAL ID?

As of September 2020, all U.S. states are REAL ID-compliant. The United States government introduced the Real ID Act in 2005 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


This federal law aimed to enhance the security of state-issued identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and identification cards, with the goal of preventing identity fraud, mainly throughout domestic airports. The Act mandates certain security features on the IDs themselves, such as holograms and barcodes.

To obtain a real ID, a US citizen must provide the following, depending on the state:

  • Proof of identity (through birth certificate, passport, social security card, or other immigration documents)
  • Residency Confirmation (through utility bills, mortgage statements, or rental agreements)

Name Change Issues:

Some US citizens are facing a unique challenge as it pertains to their identification documents listing different versions of their names (For example, their birth certificate says “Bob Smith,” but their Social Security Card lists “Bobby Smith”). This is preventing a large number of US citizens from obtaining a Real ID at their local DMVs. Without a real ID, these citizens are also prevented from traveling domestically by aircraft.

One common reason people may have different versions of their names on identification documents is due to Florida name changes over time resulting from religious conversions or personal preferences. Older generations may have also had their names recorded differently on various documents due to manual data entry, handwriting variations, or less stringent verification processes. In the past, record-keeping practices were not as standardized or digital as they are today.

If you are in this boat of people who have multiple name variations on multiple identification documents, correcting or updating the documents to reflect a consistent name may seem like a daunting, bureaucratic, and time-consuming process. However, Pinellas Family Lawyer can help you with the entire process, including getting your final court order legally changing your name.

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