MVA adds temporary office in Columbia for rush of REAL ID appointments as deadline approaches

MVA adds temporary office in Columbia for rush of REAL ID appointments as deadline approaches
The MVA has opened a temporary satellite office in Columbia to deal with the crush of customers who have to update their licenses to be REAL ID compliant. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

A temporary annex office of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration in Columbia will provide hundreds of appointments per day for drivers who need to update their documents with the state to comply with the federal REAL ID law, officials announced Monday.

Part of a large-scale effort to assist millions of drivers through the process of submitting the required documents to the agency, the Columbia Annex is the second temporary space the agency has opened. It has also hired additional employees and extended hours at many of its locations.


The 3,200-square-foot annex, a few doors down from the Columbia MVA branch at 6490 Dobbin Road, has created 20 new jobs and adds 11 customer-service stations, according to the MVA. It will be open for appointments only until May 2020, the MVA said.

The hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays except Thursday, when the office is open until 6:30 p.m. The offices are open 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, for driver’s license services only, including REAL ID compliance.

MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer said her agency is focused on its customers and “innovative ways to make their experience simple and efficient.”

“I encourage citizens to look up your REAL ID status, and if necessary, collect your documents and make an appointment to come see us in Columbia or a branch nearest to you – we’ll see you within 15 minutes, guaranteed,” she said in a statement.

What’s required?
  1. One proof of age and identity, such as an original or certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate or a valid, unexpired U.S. passport. (If your current legal name is different from what is listed on these documents, you will also need to provide a government-issued marriage certificate, divorce decree or other court document(s) to explain the name change.)
  2. One proof of Social Security, such as an original Social Security card, W-2 form or SSA-1099 (displaying your name and entire Social Security number).
  3. Two proofs of Maryland residency, such as an insurance card, vehicle registration, credit card bill, utility bill, bank statement, or mail from a federal, state or local government agency. (They must display your name and Maryland residential address, and be from two separate organizations.)

The federal REAL ID law, passed in 2005, set federal security standards for identification, such as driver's licenses. It goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2020 — at which point non-complying driver’s licenses will not be accepted as a form of identification for use at airports or federal buildings.

Maryland began collecting the required documents from new drivers and out-of-state transplants as part of the licensing process in July 2009, and it has required those documents from drivers renewing licenses since January 2018, to comply with federal law.

More than half of the state’s 5 million licensed drivers have not filed the required documents with the MVA.