REAL ID and foreign marriage certificate

REAL ID and Foreign Marriage Certificate Issues

Have you been keeping up with all of the mentions of REAL ID in the news lately? There are countless news articles being published every day to keep up with the approaching deadlines and extensions. It’s important to note with REAL ID and foreign marriage certificates that you might need to fill out extra paperwork when applying. The DMV ended up changing their policy due to this incident in North Carolina.

You might be thinking, hold on, what is REAL ID? Will this affect me personally or my ability to travel? If these are the questions currently running through your head, then head on over to this blog for REAL ID 101. This will give you the basic rundown on what REAL ID is, if you need it, and what will happen if you don’t have it after the deadline has passed.

The video below also gives a quick rundown on what REAL ID is. The information on deadlines is specific to CA, but if you continue reading below there is more information on checking to see if your state is REAL ID compliant.

Once you have the basic information about REAL ID covered, the next steps will be checking on the deadline for your state. You’ll find information here on which states are already REAL ID compliant and which have requested extensions. There are state extension updates pretty frequently, so you will want to stay on top of the local news. Official Travel Documents is another great resource for REAL ID news updates.

OK, so you know what REAL ID is and that you need to get one ASAP. Since Congress passed the REAL ID Act so long ago and is only beginning to enforce it now, many people are not fully aware of the changes to come. They certainly aren’t rushing to the DMV for their REAL IDs just yet. The earlier you can get the documents you need together and get to the DMV, the better. No one likes waiting in a long line at the DMV!

You will likely need the following documents when you head to the DMV to apply for your REAL ID:

  • Proof of identity– If you are a US citizen, a birth certificate or a US passport will do just fine. If you are a legal permanent resident, a green card or visa will be accepted.
  • Proof of social security number– You will need your original social security card and it cannot be laminated.
  • Proof of residency– Two documents will be required to prove residency. A current driver’s license from the state you currently live in will probably be easiest for #1. For the second document, you can provide a printed utility bill showing your name and address, a W-2 form, or a mortgage document.
  • Proof of legal name– If your current name doesn’t match the name on your birth certificate, you will need additional documentation to show legal proof of the change. A marriage certificate, divorce decree, or a court order approving the name change will work. There is more information below on what to consider if you were married outside of the US.

REAL ID and Foreign Marriage Certificate

A destination wedding in another country might mean an extra step when applying for your REAL ID. Still worth it!

If you read the news story mentioned earlier in this blog, you know that the woman in question had an international marriage license, which caused a bit of a problem when she went to apply for her REAL ID. The DMV wasn’t able to accept a foreign marriage certificate as proof of a legal name change.

Due to this incident, the DMV ended up changing their policy and allowing anyone with a foreign marriage certificate to fill out a name change affidavit at the DMV. Luckily this form only takes a few minutes to fill out, and will only you $2.

Keep in mind this incident took place at a DMV in North Carolina and there may be nuances in your home state that can change the process a bit. Your best bet will be to prepare the documents outlined above first. After you’ve gathered what you need, do a little research online about name change affidavit forms in your state. You will likely be able to print the packet online and fill it out at home before submitting it to the county court.

We hope the above information was helpful in outlining the things you need to know about REAL ID and foreign marriage certificates. As you’re gathering your documents to apply for a REAL ID, don’t forget VitalChek is an easy way to get your government certified vital records. The process is completed online and  helps you avoid waiting in lines unnecessarily!

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