SNEEDVILLE — Beginning July 1, 2019, Tennessee began issuing REAL ID Federally-compliant drivers licenses and ID cards that, effective Oct. 1, 2020, will be mandatory for persons who fly on commercial aircraft, or who have need to enter certain government buildings or nuclear facilities, including power plants.

Hancock Co. Clerk Jessie Royston told the Eagle that while his office can handle renewals of such REAL ID driver’s licenses or ID cards, it cannot process first-time requests.

“People will have to go to a full-service driver license office to apply for a REAL ID for the first time,” he said.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed as a result of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

Persons will NOT, however, need a REAL ID card to drive, vote, purchase alcohol or cigarettes, enter hospitals, Post Offices, access Federal courts, or to apply for and receive federal benefits, such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

And while Tennessee residents are not required to obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, Royston said that if anyone has plans to do any travel on or after Oct. 1, 2020, that involves flying on a commercial aircraft, they may want to go ahead and get the new REAL ID certification when it comes time to renew their standard driver’s license.

“It doesn’t cost any more than it does to renew your existing driver license,” he said. “But to get the REAL ID for the first time you will have to go to a full-service driver license office and take with you the documents that prove you are who you say you are.”

A list of those documents accompanies this article and may also be found online at

All documents MUST be originals ... photocopies, faxes, etc., are not acceptable. These documents are required even if you are already a Tennessee license or ID holder and are applying for a REAL ID compliant credential for the first time, or if you are a new resident to the Volunteer State and were previously issued a REAL ID in a different state, according to the state’s website.

The air travel restriction is important to remember because as of Oct. 1 of next year, if you don’t have a REAL ID, you will not be permitted through an airport’s security checkpoint, and consequently, won’t be allowed to board your plane.

A REAL ID costs the same as current Tennessee licenses and IDs. If it is time to renew your license, the cost to obtain a REAL ID driver license or Identification credential will be the standard renewal fee of an eight-year license or ID card.

However, if you are not within your renewal period and you wish to obtain a REAL ID compliant credential, you will be charged a duplicate fee.

For more information, readers may visit:, or go by the Clerk’s office in Sneedville.