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Get Ready to Get Your Required REAL ID

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REAL ID Deadline Postponed to 2025, According to Department of Homeland Security

The Real ID Act will not go into effect until May 2025, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement on Monday. This is the rule’s most recent postponement. The rule’s latest current implementation date was set for May 2023.

The government attributed some of the ongoing delay to “the residual effects of the Covid-19 epidemic.” It was mentioned that getting licenses or identification cards that complied with Real ID became more challenging as a result of the pandemic.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas  said in a press release. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible.”

On May 7, 2025, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.Find out if you’re REAL ID ready with our interactive tool, or select your state or territory.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. These purposes are:

Accessing certain federal facilities.

Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

Entering nuclear power plants.

Q: How do I get a REAL ID?

Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status.

States may impose additional requirements, so check with your state’s driver’s licensing agency website, before visiting them in person, for additional guidance and assistance.

DHS is working closely with all states and territories to provide assistance and guidance to achieve full compliance by the May 7, 2025 deadline. As of March 26, 2021, 55 states and territories are fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements, and all states are on track to begin issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the May 7, 2025 deadline.

Federal agencies, including DHS and TSA, may only accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as identification for purposes of accessing federal facilities – including TSA airport security checkpoints – if the license or card was issued by a REAL ID compliant state in accordance with the REAL ID security standards (meaning the license or card must include the REAL ID compliant star marking). Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDL) issued by Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont are considered acceptable alternatives to REAL ID-compliant cards and will also be accepted for official REAL ID purposes. Most EDLs do not contain the star marking and this is acceptable.

Q: How do I know if my license or identification card is REAL ID compliant?

REAL ID-compliant cards will have of one of the following markings on the upper top portion of the card. If the card does not have one of these markings, it is not REAL ID-compliant and won’t be accepted as proof of identity in order to board commercial aircraft.

Example of Real ID’s.

Example of REAL ID from New York

Example of REAL ID from South Carolina

Example of REAL ID from California

Q: When will I need to change how I travel domestically?

Beginning May 7, 2025 every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft. The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport or passport card, or state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).

All U.S. States Now Compliant Ahead of REAL ID Deadline


Q: Will minors need to have driver’s licenses/ identification cards to fly domestically?

No. TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

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