MVA adds hours, appointments and staff to handle REAL ID volume

MVA adds hours, appointments and staff to handle REAL ID volume

By Len Lazarick

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has added hours, staff and appointments at its offices to cope with the increased volume of drivers who must present four or more different documents to obtain a Real ID drivers license that complies with federal law.

Drivers must get the compliant licenses by October 2020 in order to board a commercial aircraft or enter a federal facility. The new requirements have ballooned the number of drivers licenses renewals from 10,000 a month to 100,000 per month, according to MVA officials.

In an interview, MVA Administrator Christine Nizer said the agency has also clarified rules for its staff for judging the eligibility of passports, marriage certificates and other documents that have created problems for some people. She said the agency’s REAL ID website has also been updated with more information about the documents required.

The MVA said it has added 2,700 appointments through May 4, with 1,900 added permanently. Customers with appointments are guaranteed to be seen within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.

MVA customers without appointments on Saturday were having wait times of 45 minutes in Beltsville to as long as 110 minutes in Glen Burnie, based on the agency website.

The busiest high-volume branches — Annapolis, Bel Air, Columbia, Glen Burnie, Largo, Parkville, Waldorf and Walnut Hill — are now open till 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in addition to Saturday hours. All MVA branches are open on Thursdays till 6:30 p.m.

Appointments help spread out volume of customers

Nizer said, “If we can get people to make more appointments, we can spread that [extra volume] out.”

Nizer insisted that the higher volumes has not reduced MVA’s commitment to “providing premier customer service” and it has added 100 staff members to handle the high volume.

She said that 79% of customers respond to post visit surveys and 98% of respondents said the MVA was “friendly, helpful and professional.”

“I think what it shows we’ve done a lot of training,” Nizer said.

REAL ID has been in the works since 2005 when Congress passed the original law as a post-9/11 counterterrorism measure. There was strong resistance to national ID cards, so Congress made the states do the job for them.

Some states, such as Pennsylvania, resisted the move, and is now only issuing compliant licenses, while Maryland has been cooperating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for years.

Maryland drivers facing longer lines, frustration on license renewal to comply with federal law
New driver’s license requirements producing anger, frustration

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. MDDEM2015

    I really miss the days of you went in without an appointment you swapped licenses, had your picture taken, paid and you were out.
    Thanks to this racist administration it’s now time consuming and a hassle now!!!

  2. Annon

    So this is what really happening -from employees perspective:

    – everybody is talking about real Id lines and all that but did anybody thought about what’s happening to their employees ? We , everyday go home late around 6 630 sometimes even 7 despite mva closing time 430 usually.
    – the first real Id update we got is in 2018 but at that time it wasn’t mandatory for people who lost their dl or change of address now its mandatory to bring all docs even if you lost dl, that hurts overall time for customers and forces mva employees and customers to sit for even longer period time at mva,chirsie nizer claimed in staff meeting that she was prepared for this real Id influx(sacrificing employees time,of course!) Which obviously everybody knows it is total lie!also long line tells different stories!
    – she is claiming that she hired 100 people , did anybody asked to show any proof? Even so, 100 for every branch in maryland will have little to no effect due to this real I’d(so there is 24 branches of mva ,that is 4 people per mva but I am assuming not everybody got 4 employees also some employees work at different branch then their own branch for example 2-3 people from gaithersburg office always working at express location of gaithersburg,so you can tell how much truth chrisie is telling to people on news)
    -not only that work environment at mva is so hostile that it doesn’t matter that how nice you are or not,people always find a way to curse you and this real Id BS made even worse,
    -she (chrise nizer) expects performance like private organizations but paying their customer agents so low , customer agent salary is 28000 year , now who wants to work for mva for such a low pay? And even that pay doesn’t include all deductions from your pay checks.
    -starring at computers for long periods of time because of real I’d is now hurting employees eyes but as I say she doesn’t care for their employees well being.all she cares about is being look good on tv, not even a single word she said on tv that she is proud of their employees and their dedication
    -even every year mva employees pays from their pocket to go on Christmas parties unlike other organizations they organize their Christmas parties but if you,as a employee has to go to Christmas party, you need to shell out $40, who goes in for that party?she cant even organize one single party for employees and expect us to work like slaves.
    -did I mention that there is no performance pay neither bonus given to employees for Christmas,instead we have to pay $40 to go to Christmas parties!

    But again why are we caring for employees? Just talk about real I’d and long lines only!

  3. Amy R

    Regarding the MD Real ID – why did we receive an email from the MVA stating that we needed to go to our local branch office by JUNE 12, 2019? “Failure to respond may result in further action against your Driver’s license or Identification Card.” Quote directly from email!!!!

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