Now that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has pushed back the deadline to require a REAL ID driver’s license to get on a plane or enter a federal building to at least May of 2025, some New Jersey residents who spent extra money to get a REAL ID are wondering if the state Motor Vehicle Commission will give them a refund or a credit.

William Connolly, the press secretary for the MVC, said this was a decision made on the federal level so the answer is no.

“We will not be issuing any refunds. If you received a REAL ID it cost $35, that’s in contrast to a standard New Jersey license which costs $24,” he said.

He pointed out “that document is going to be good for 4 years, you can continue to use that document, it is compliant with the federal standards.”

Who’s calling the shots?

Connolly said Homeland Security officials control what happens with REAL ID.

“This is not a decision MVC makes. New Jersey residents are going to be affected by this decision but it is not a decision that was made by the state of New Jersey,” he said.

Angry man driving a car.
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He said the decision to extend the deadline two years makes sense.

“It does give us more time to get more New Jersey residents REAL ID, those who are eligible for it.”

What’s the process?

He said “the best time to get a REAL ID is in your renewal window, that’s three months before the expiration on your license or ID. We also offer REAL ID for individuals if you’re outside that renewal window.”

Connolly said if you’re not sure you really want or need REAL ID, visit

Not sure if you already have REAL ID?

He said the MVC has issued about 4.8 million driver’s licenses and 427,000 of them are REAL ID compliant.

“If you look at your license and you have a ’Not for REAL ID Purposes’ in the upper right hand corner, you have a standard New Jersey license or ID. If you have a star in the upper right hand corner, that is a REAL ID in New Jersey.”

Once you get a REAL ID, you will be able to renew online for 12 years, but after that time period you will have to go back to the MVC to update your picture with appropriate identification.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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