1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need
a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of ID (for
example, your U.S. passport or a U.S. military ID) to fly within the United
Some things to know:
Drivers’ licenses can be updated to REAL ID-compliant now. Licensing agencies and motor vehicle departments are expecting long lines and wait times in the months leading up to October 2020.
Every state has a different process for REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses. In most cases, additional documentation and an appointment might be needed. Some states, such as Oregon, have not yet begun to distribute REAL ID-compliant licenses, so residents should refer to their state licensing agency or motor vehicle department websites for details and plan accordingly.
Many states identify their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses with a gold star in the upper right corner, which indicates they are compliant; however, some states such as Washington do not use gold stars for REAL ID-compliant licenses. If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant card.
It’s the law
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