N.J. to issue Real IDs next month as federal deadline looms

Sue Fulton is chair and chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. (Joe Hernandez/WHYY)

Sue Fulton is chair and chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. (Joe Hernandez/WHYY)

New Jersey will start issuing federally mandated Real IDs next month, according to the head of the state’s motor vehicle agency.

New Jersey is one of a handful of states that has lagged on issuing the IDs, which will be required for commercial airline travel by October 2020.

“I’m confident that everyone who needs a Real ID, who wants a Real ID, will be able to get that Real ID prior to the October 2020 deadline,” said Sue Fulton, chair and chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

The commission will begin issuing Real IDs at one agency location next month and plans to roll it out to all 39 agencies subsequently.

Residents with IDs expiring in three months or under can upgrade to a Real ID when they renew their license for the standard $24 renewal fee. Someone who wants to upgrade to a Real ID but whose license is not expiring will be charged an $11 change fee.

Fulton said the commission is hiring more workers and replacing aging equipment to prepare for the rush of applicants, but she still warned residents to expect congestion at  MVC locales.

“There are going to be crowds. There are going to be long lines. We know this. We know that every state is looking at how they’re going to get through the next 18 months. It’s going to be very tough,” Fulton said.

Real IDs are not mandatory in New Jersey. Residents can still use their standard IDs or renew them, but they will not be able to use them to fly.

Those without Real IDs can instead use their passports for air travel.

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