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Everything You Need to Know About REAL ID

By October 2020, your driver’s license will not be a sufficient form of identification at airport security. Instead, all U.S. travelers are required to use REAL ID, a driver’s license with added measures of security.


The REAL ID Act of 2005, passed in response to 9-11, sought to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” While it has gradually been implemented over the past decade, the goal is to reduce airline terrorism.

Minimum Security

“The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards,” explains Christy Rodriguez for Upgraded Points, “…it prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes.”

To obtain a REAL ID, the DMV requires more paperwork than a noncompliant ID. This includes an identifying document such as a passport or birth certificate, proof of residency and your Social Security number.

However, each state has its own REAL ID requirements and you will want to check in with your local DMV about any questions you may have.

What is Necessary?

There may be some cases in which you will not want, or need, a REAL ID-compliant license. For children under 18 and those who need ID for the sole purpose of identification, REAL ID isn’t necessary.

Because passports are REAL ID compliant, travelers with passports and without REAL ID will still be able to travel. However, if your passport is expired and you do not have a REAL ID, you are not permitted to fly.

Some states have already been issuing REAL IDs for the past couple of years. If your ID has a bar of gold or black star in the upper portion of the card, it is REAL ID compliant.

For more information from the TSA, click here.