Tennessee offers online document check for Real ID applications

The yellow star, top right, indicates an Real ID compliant license. (Image credit: TSA)

A crush of Tennesseans trying to update their driver’s licenses to comply with Real ID standards caused long lines and delays before the federal government issued a reprieve during the pandemic.

A year ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security put off the enforcement deadline from October 2020 to October 2021, when Real IDs will be needed to board domestic flights.

With that date now approaching (and with vaccines making travel more likely), the state Department of Safety is offering a digital upload service so documents can be verified before people go to a Driver Service station to upgrade their IDs. That way, people won’t face the prospect of waiting in line only to find out they don’t have the correct paperwork with them.

Here’s the release from the Safety Department detailing the program.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (TDOSHS) Driver Services division is pleased to announce the addition of document uploads to its online services options. This service allows new and existing customers to upload required identity documents to be pre-vetted and added to the customer’s profile prior to visiting a Driver Services Center.

“This new service will reduce the number of potential visits and cut down transaction time at the Driver Services Center with our staff by pre-vetting the customer’s uploaded documents,” said Commissioner Jeff Long. “One of the biggest frustrations we see for customers visiting a Driver Services Center is finding out they don’t have the correct documents with them when they arrive.”

Current customers wanting to apply for a REAL ID; first-time driver license and ID applicants; and new resident applicants are eligible to use this service. To begin the document upload process, visit www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/online and navigate to e-Services. Existing customers will enter the required information fields and select “Upload Documents” from their service menu. New residents or first-time applicants will click, “Apply for a Tennessee permit, license, or ID” to begin the application and document upload process. Customers who complete the online document upload process will receive an email notification of their document review status.

Customers should allow up to five business days for their documents to be reviewed. Once approved, customers may visit any Driver Services Center or participating county clerk partner.

The approved uploaded documents must be presented in-person at a Driver Services Center or participating county clerk partner to verify the documents are original or certified. Proof of name change documents are not accepted for online document upload and need to be presented at the time of service.

The department encourages all Tennesseans to utilize the online portal to complete driver services such as driver license or CDL renewal, submitting reinstatement documents, change of address and many more. For services not available online in e-Services, customers may visit a Self-Service Kiosk, participating county clerk partner or are encouraged to make an appointment for their Driver Services Center visit.

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