Real ID-compliant licenses can be obtained now

Real ID-compliant licenses can be obtained now

Real ID-compliant enforcement begins Oct 1, 2020

Beginning October 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 States.

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, Oklahoma and New Jersey, 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 plane.

How Do I Get A Real ID?

Check with your state driver’s license agency. You will need to go in person to present documentation to verify who you are, in order to get your REAL ID.

Check this TSA fact sheet for more details, and visit the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration’s websites for more information on Real ID.

Sources:, “Real ID – Flying with a REAL ID”, “Real ID”, “Don’t get grounded! Make sure your ID is ready to fly Oct. 1, 2020” by Ray Lane. June 13, 2019