*Updated 3/30/2020* (Originally published 1/8/2020)
Due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19, the deadline for REAL ID compliance has been extended to October 1, 2021 for all states. This update comes directly from Director of Homeland Security Chad Wolfe, as directed by President Trump. Read the full statement here. Beginning
October 1, 2020 October 1, 2021, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Below are answers to common questions regarding the REAL ID Act and resources on how to become compliant in your state before the deadline.
What is the REAL ID Act?
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act and implementing regulations establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and 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 to board a plane. (via TSA.gov)
How Do I Get a REAL ID?
Obtaining a REAL-ID requires an in-person visit to your local motor vehicles office and presenting documents that prove your identity and state residency. You cannot obtain a REAL ID through the mail. Required documents vary by state. Below is an example of required documents for California. Information for all 50 states can be found here
- Valid, unexpired Passport or birth certificate (issued by a city, county or state vital statistics office)
- Social security card or document showing your name and full social security number (examples include W-2, 1099, paystub)
- Two documents to prove state residency that includes your address (usually the same address listed on your ID)
Payment (fees vary by state)
Can I fly abroad with a REAL ID?
No, a REAL ID is only valid for domestic travel. You will still need a valid passport for international travel. Information for obtaining a US Passport can be found here.
What happens if I don’t have a REAL ID on October 1, 2021, and I’d like to fly within the United States?
If you don’t have a REAL ID by October 1, 2020, then you’ll need to provide another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. The TSA lists other acceptable forms of identification here.
REAL ID California Information on obtaining a REAL ID in California.
Dept. of Homeland Security REAL ID for all 50 states Click your state on the map for information on obtaining a REAL ID.
TSA REAL ID TSA information on flying with REAL ID.