Real ID Compliance Updated 2021

Is your driver’s license or other form of ID REAL ID-compliant? Does it need to be?

In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act to establish minimum security standards for state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. This will prohibit federal agencies, like TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes…such as getting through the airport security checkpoint.

Originally, the deadline to comply with the new identification cards was October 1, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this deadline was initially delayed to October 1, 2021. The deadline has now been extended again. Beginning May 3, 2023, in order to fly within the United States, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another form of acceptable ID.

Besides airport security checkpoints, REAL ID-compliant identification cards will also be required for accessing federal facilities and entering nuclear power plants. Although you may not anticipate visiting a nuclear power plant, consider that certain federal museums and federal courthouses are facilities that would require REAL ID-compliant cards.

The most common alternative identification to travel is a United States Passport. Your U.S. Passport is Real ID-compliant and can be used to enter federal facilities and to fly. However, many people do not feel safe carrying their passport at all times. The financial burden and burden on your time is also a consideration, so it is best to acquire a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.

Although your state may have additional requirements, you must provide the following documentation showing:

  1. Full Legal Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence
  5. Lawful Status

How do you know if your existing driver’s license is already REAL ID-compliant? Look to see if it has any kind of variation of a five-point star in the upper portion of the card. If so, your ID is compliant. However, if you possess an Enhanced Driver’s License issued by Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, or Vermont, it will also be accepted as a REAL ID-compliant identification card. Most of these IDs do not display a star on the card.

States will still issue driver’s licenses that do not meet the federal government’s requirements, so be sure to ask your state’s department of motor vehicles for this specific kind of identification card.

Looking for more information or to see if your state is compliant? Visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id