Do you need to obtain a REAL ID in Colorado?
Colorado is already in compliance with the REAL ID law. This means that you can use your current DOR-issued credentials to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities up until October 1, 2020. Moreover, you may already have a gold star on your driver’s license in CO if you applied for a card in recent times. All non-compliant credentials will still say “not for federal identification purposes” instead.
Note: You can use a Colorado ID with or without a secure star up until the deadline in October 2020. After that point, you will need a REAL ID driver’s license or ID that includes the star.
Colorado already requires you to submit the same types of documents for standard or secure ID. Therefore, you may not need to make a decision about which type of credential you want. In any case, getting a DOR REAL ID is not mandatory if you do not want a card with enhanced security features. Remember that REAL IDs are not required for every purpose. For example, you do not need a special form of ID to apply for federal benefits, vote in elections or enter federal facilities that do not require you to show an ID, such as museums or post offices.
If you rely on a driver’s license or ID as your primary source of identification, it is in your best interest to upgrade to an enhanced card. With that in mind, a secure ID may not be necessary if you already use an alternative form of identification, such as a passport, as your primary ID. In any case, there is no drawback to getting a REAL ID compliant card, as it will make it easier for you to travel domestically and gain access to certain federal facilities.
REAL ID Requirements in Colorado
In order to obtain a REAL ID driver license or ID card, you need to show documentation verifying your identity, SSN and physical residence in CO. If you currently have a driver’s license or ID card, you can use this credential to verify your identity. Otherwise, you will need a document that verifies your name, date of birth, identity and legal presence in the U.S. Items that can satisfy this requirement include:
- A U.S. birth certificate.
- A U.S. passport.
- A certificate of citizenship or naturalization.
- A foreign passport with accompanying paperwork.
In addition to an identity document, you must have one proof of SSN in the form of a Social Security card, W-2 form, 1099 form or pay stub. Keep in mind that the document you use to get REAL ID credentials should include your full SSN, not just the last four digits. Next, you need two proofs of residency in the form of a utility bill, Colorado driver license, credit card statement, rental agreement, lease or other similar mail addressed to your residence.
Note: All documents for a REAL ID must be original or certified copies. Pieces of mail and other documents will not be accepted if they are handwritten rather than being printed. Furthermore, any mail used to establish residency must be dated within one year of your application.
When to Get a Real ID in Colorado
You can apply for REAL ID credentials in a few different situations. If you already have a license or identification card with a star in the corner, you do not need to do anything else, as your ID is already compliant with the new regulations. If not, you may submit your application while:
- Updating or amending your current license or ID to reflect a name or address change.
- Applying for your first license or ID with the DOR.
- Renewing your license or ID.
A DOR REAL ID can also be issued at any time outside of your regular renewal schedule if you want to upgrade your credentials sooner than your license’s expiration date. Overall, the application requirements will be the same regardless of when you submit your forms.
How to Apply for a REAL ID in Colorado
Submitting a REAL ID application in Colorado is similar to the process for getting a standard, non-secure ID. To start, you will need to visit a DOR office in person, as your initial application for an ID or license can only be processed in person. If you are taking any tests for your license, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment before visiting the office.
Next, you will need to present your documentation and pay the appropriate fee. REAL IDs cost the same as regular credentials and you do not need to pay any additional fees just to have a secure ID. Finally, you may need to have your photograph taken and provide a signature for your card. Your new credentials will arrive in the mail once your application is processed.
Note that you can only apply for your initial Colorado REAL ID in person. If you want to upgrade to a secure ID when renewing an existing credential, you still need to go to a DOR office to present your documentation. This is a requirement under the federal law. Once you have your secure card, you can perform renewals and other tasks online or through alternative methods in the same way you would for a standard credential.