New York, Delaware and most other states in the U.S. are already offering Real ID driver’s licenses.

Pennsylvania officials have announced they will begin issuing Real ID licenses in March, but New Jersey is still working on its rollout of the new standard.

No firm date has been announced, but the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission hopes to begin issuing the Department of Homeland Security requirement-compliant licenses sometime next spring.

Homeland Security has given New Jersey an extension until October of 2019 to have its Real ID program operational, but an additional extension is possible and Real ID-certified driver’s licenses will not be needed to fly commercially or enter a federal building until October of 2020.

According to Sue Fulton, the chief administrator of the New Jersey MVC, many states already offering Real ID licenses have had issues, and the Garden State wants to make sure they’re not repeated here.

She said those problems include extremely long lines to get a Real ID license and confusion about what documentation is needed, so before Real ID licenses are offered in Jersey, the MVC is looking to “improve the customer flow inside the agency."

Among the MVC's initiatives: Ensuring better reliability for its computer systems.

Fulton said the MVC wants to make sure that when the Real ID license is offered in the Garden State, “we have smoothed the path so there is the minimum amount of disruption to New Jersey customers when they come in to get their driver’s licenses.”

According to Fulton, the agency is looking to roll out Real ID in the late spring of 2019, but would consider further delays to avoid problems.

“I’m expecting by Feb. 15 that we’ll know for sure what our launch dates will look like, and we’ll be able to come back and give you more information," Fulton said.

She said to get a Real ID license you will have to come into an MVC office, but the agency is working to expand opportunities to get other motor vehicle transactions taken care of online, in order to free up resources at MVC sites.

She said the documentation requirements for Real ID will be a little different than the six points of identification currently required to get a New Jersey driver’s license. The MVC plans on updating its website with the new standards to make getting information as easy as possible.

"Nobody wants to come in and find out that they didn’t bring that one extra proof of their New Jersey residence that they needed," Fulton said.

She stressed the focus “is not on getting Real ID driver licenses issued as soon as possible."

"Our focus is on making that customer experience as easy and as fast as possible," Fulton said.

She also pointed out you will still be able to fly commercially after October of 2020 using your passport as identification, so getting a Real ID driver’s license won’t be absolutely necessary, and some people may opt to continue using a standard driver’s license.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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