As a frequent traveler, upcoming REAL ID requirements will affect how you travel within the United States. You may no longer be able to pass through airport security with your current driver’s license. Instead, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require a form of REAL ID for domestic flights on federally regulated commercial aircraft.
REAL IDs were established by the REAL ID Act in 2005. The Act outlines consistent security standards for state-issued identification, such as driver’s licenses. These standards make the process for obtaining state-issued IDs more rigorous. The Act also requires that TSA only accepts identification that meets these standards for domestic travelers over 18. The benefit of REAL ID requirements is a more secure experience for domestic travelers.
When does REAL ID go into effect?
REAL ID will be required to fly domestically beginning October 1, 2021.
What is REAL ID compliant?
To travel domestically, you can update your state-issued ID to a REAL ID compliant driver’s license (or other state ID). Your current identification does not have to be expired to receive a REAL ID. Instead of a state-issued REAL ID, you can use another form of secure identification to pass through airport security.
These alternate IDs include:
• United States Passport
• United States Passport Card
• United States Military ID
• Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler Card, including Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRY and FAST
• Enhanced Driver’s License from MI, MN, NY, VT or WA
What does a REAL ID look like?
It’s easy to tell if your current state-issued ID is REAL ID compliant. There will be a star in the upper right-hand corner of your ID card. This can be in the form of a gold star, black star, star cutout in gold circle, star cutout in black circle, or star cutout in gold grizzly bear. Which icon you see depends on the state you live in.
If you use an enhanced driver’s license to pass through airport security during domestic travel, you will see a United States flag.
What documents do I need to get a REAL ID?
If you choose to use a state-issued REAL ID to travel domestically by air, you will need to visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in person. The required documents for REAL ID application will depend on the state where you live.
In general, you will be asked to prove your identity (including your age), Social Security number and current address. Proof of identity can be achieved with a birth certificate or valid United States Passport or Passport Card. A Social Security card or tax form, such as a W-2 form, can be used to prove your Social Security number.
To prove that you currently reside in the state where you are applying for a REAL ID, you will generally need two documents with your address. Depending on which state you live in, this can be a utility bill, mortgage statement, vehicle registration and other similar documents. If you have changed your name, you will also need the related document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree.
A REAL ID also requires new photos in many states.