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Real ID Act

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to establish national standards for state‑issued driver licenses and identification cards.  The act requires:

  • individuals to present verifiable forms of identification in order to apply for a driver license or identification card;
  • state motor vehicle departments to verify and retain a copy of each identification document used to obtain a driver license or identification card; and
  • that states include nine specific types of information on driver licenses and identification cards. 

The act also prohibits certain individuals from obtaining a permanent driver license or identification card, requires that states participate in a national motor vehicle shared database, and prohibits individuals without a valid driver license or identification card from accessing specified federal services.

In accordance with the REAL ID Act, the Colorado DMV must verify an applicant's full legal name, identity, date of birth, and lawful presence in the United States when issuing a Colorado driver license or state identification card.  Click here to view the DMV Required Document Matrix

All applicants who do not hold a valid Colorado driver license, identification card, or instruction permit are required to provide their Social Security number (SSN) by presenting one of the following documents:

  • Social Security Account Number card (not laminated);
  • W‑2 form;
  • SSA‑1099 form;
  • Non‑SSA‑1099 form; or
  • Pay stub with the applicant's name and SSN on it.

The DMV must also verify an applicant's SSN with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  In order for the SSA's on‑line verification system (SSOLV) to positively identify the applicant's SSN, the applicant's name on file with the SSA must appear identical to the full legal name of the applicant.  This means that the SSA must have the full first, full middle, and current last name of the applicant on file.  If the SSA has a middle initial on file, the applicant will not be approved for a Colorado driver license or identification card and will need to update his or her information with the SSA to include the full middle name before a license or identification card can be issued.  Click here for more information on updating a name with the SSA.