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NDSU student has challenge getting REAL ID, could show signs of future problems

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Jackson Stremick talks about his visit to the Driver's License Office in Fargo.2 / 2

FARGO—While it may seem simple according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation website, the requirements for REAL ID are already causing issues for some.

A 20-year-old North Dakota State University junior, Jackson Stremick went to the the Fargo Driver's License Office in August to get a REAL ID. He grew up in Fargo, and his parents still live here, but he lives in a dorm.

Because the dorm was only a temporary living space, he used his parents' address where he lived a part of the year to provide evidence of North Dakota residency. He brought what was required on the website, birth certificate, Social Security card, current North Dakota driver's license, mortgage and his passport. He even brought a note from his mother to prove he lived in his parents' home. He was turned away.

"The person in our booth got a superior, I assume it was a superior, and basically said the stuff I brought in was not valid," Stremick said. "And she basically said, 'We don't accept handwritten, you're going to have to get it typed up then notarized by the judge then come back.' You have to go through multiple loopholes then come back just to get it."

Even though he had an appointment, the trip back for a second time can be inconvenient, especially when you typically have to schedule a time two weeks in advance.

"You're wasting your time and other people's time while you're there. Somebody else could have been in your spot and now you have to go back twice," Stremick said. "And if you don't make an appointment, then it's half a day wait. So if you have to go twice you waste a whole day."

While the driver's license office does have a solution for issues like these that would occur for many out-of state college students trying to get a REAL ID, Stremick says the biggest issue narrows down to transparency and openness about what's necessary.

"The lady told us there, that it was, and I quote her, not advertised in their instructions that this is how you bypass it and I think they need to put it in there," Stremick said.

"They need to be more transparent, or better ways around some of this stuff. I think if you have your passport and your driver's license since your passport is already your real ID, I think that should be good enough. You have two forms of identification that you live here."

REAL ID started being distributed at DMVs throughout North Dakota starting June 1. With the REAL ID act in place, North Dakota residents won't be able to board domestic flights with their standard ID starting October 2020.

There is an opt-in, opt-out option when deciding to participate in REAL ID. If you opt in to getting a REAL ID, you can use that ID card for domestic flights. If you opt out of getting REAL ID, then you have to use your passport for domestic flights or you will not be able to fly.

Here's a guide to getting REAL ID in North Dakota with the information currently on the ND Department of Transportation website.

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