Real ID license: Deadline approaches for US travelers

Do you have your Real ID yet? 

There is only one year remaining before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security begins enforcing the Real ID requirement.

All states, the District of Columbia, and the 5 territories are Real ID compliant and are issuing Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs.

Here’s what you need to know.

Do you need a real ID to fly in the US?

According to the DHS, U.S. travelers must obtain a Real ID to board flights within the United States and access certain federal facilities.

real id deadline

Real ID requirement signs at entrance to passenger TSA security area in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Credit: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

If you are traveling domestically, you will only need one valid form of identification – either your Real ID or another acceptable alternative such as a passport, not both.

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. Most EDLs do not contain the star marking and this is acceptable.

Do I need a Real ID to travel internationally?

If you are traveling internationally, you will still need your passport. 

The Real ID does not replace a passport for international travel, but it does ensure that you can continue flying within the U.S. and access secure federal locations without additional documentation.

When does the Real ID take effect?

In 2022, DHS announced an extension of the deadline until May 7, 2025. 

This means, starting May 7, 2025, a Real ID, or other federally approved identification, will be necessary to board domestic flights.

Previously, the deadline had been May 3, 2023, but needed to be extended again due to the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial implementation of the Real ID deadline had been Oct. 1, 2021.

What is Real ID?

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

RELATED: Real ID deadline extended again to 2025

Older IDs will be suitable to allow people to drive, buy liquor or other age-regulated products, and gamble at casinos. Travelers also can use military IDs or passports to access flights and federal facilities.

What documents do I need to get a Real ID?

To apply for a Real ID, travelers should visit their local DMV office, and fill out the online application and upload their documents. Customers must visit a DMV office and bring their uploaded documents to complete the application. 

At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing:

  1. Full Legal Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Social Security number
  4. Two proofs of your address of principal residence
  5. Lawful status

States may impose additional requirements, so visit your local DMV for a complete list of acceptable documents and a link to the online application.

How long is Real ID good for?

Check with your local DMV office to find out how long your Real ID is valid for.

For example, in Illinois, Real ID identification cards issued to applicants 65 or older expire after eight years. All other Real ID identification cards are valid for the same length of time as standard ID cards.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.