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What'S The Deal With REAL ID?

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REAL ID Explained

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission. The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards, and it prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. Starting May 7, 2025, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another acceptable form of ID to pass through airport security within the United States. REAL ID-compliant cards are marked with a star at the top of the card.

Not Sure? Check With Your Local DMV

If you're not sure whether your ID is REAL ID compliant, you should contact your state driver's license agency. 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, even though they do not contain the star marking.

It is important to note that minors under 18 do not need to provide identification when traveling through airports with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

How to get a REAL ID

To obtain a REAL ID, you should visit your state's driver's licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing your full legal name, date of birth, social security number, two proofs of address of principal residence, and lawful status. States may impose additional requirements, so it is important to check with your state's driver's licensing agency website for additional guidance and assistance.

If you do not present a REAL ID-compliant license or acceptable alternative beginning May 7, 2025, you will not be permitted through the security checkpoint. The TSA accepts several other forms of identity documents, including a passport, passport card, or other acceptable forms of identification listed on their website.

Using a REAL ID In Other Facilities

The REAL ID Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a federal facility, nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents. However, starting 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.

Find more help here for your journey through the airport