REAL ID is a set of security standards established for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet the minimum security standards. With these new standards, travelers will need to show a REAL ID-compliant form of identification for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft when traveling within the United States.
REAL ID standards were initially set to be implemented on October 1, 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline is extended for one year. All 50 states have an extension, so U.S. travelers can continue to use their current driver’s licenses as usual for domestic travel.
What Does This Mean for You?
Starting October 1, 2021, travelers residing in the United States will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card or an acceptable alternative form of identification such as a passport to travel domestically on commercial aircraft. Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will only accept driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by a REAL ID-compliant state as a form of identification to go through airport security checkpoints. Most REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or identification cards have a star in the upper right corner.
How Do You Get a REAL ID?
To obtain a REAL ID, you will need to visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out the documentation that is required for your state. At a minimum, you will need to provide documentation showing your:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Two proofs of the address of your principal residence
- Lawful status
Some states may require additional documentation so it is important to check with your state’s driver’s licensing agency.
There is plenty of time to get prepared. Because millions of Americans still need to obtain Real IDs, we recommend anyone planning to travel by air within the United States to secure a REAL ID-compliant form of identification well ahead of next year’s deadline to prevent any issues or delays. You don’t want to show up at the airport next fall without it!