The REAL ID Act: What It Means, State by State Requirements, & Everything Else You Need To Know

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Recently, the Transportation Security Administration began posting signs at airport security checkpoints warning travelers about some upcoming ID requirement changes. So what exactly are these changes, and what do you need to do to be ready?

We’ll break down exactly what REAL ID is, and what it may mean for you and how you travel.

What Is the REAL ID Act?

Formulated in the wake of September 11 and passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

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

It was aimed at eliminating airline terrorism by increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes.

State agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles require more paperwork regarding proof of residency and Social Security Number when issuing licenses and identification cards under the new act.

In addition, the cards themselves will also be built using new technology, making them much more difficult to forge.

It has taken the federal government nearly 15 years to implement the act fully — a gradual process that has been met by some confusion as each state has a different status. However, all states will need to be in compliance by October 1, 2020.

What Does a REAL ID Look Like?

In most states, there is a gold or black star on the front of the license that will signify compliance. If you see this, then you’re good to go.

However, to make it more confusing, a few states have issued compliant IDs without a star (Hawaii, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah). So it’s best to confirm with your state if you don’t see a star.

Hot Tip: Some states, including Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State are currently issuing enhanced drivers licenses. These are a form of REAL ID. They additionally allow land and sea border crossings to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

An easy way to know your card is not compliant is if it says “Not for Federal Identification” or  “Federal Limits Apply.”

REAL ID Compliant vs Non-Compliant - Upgraded Points

What Does It Mean For Me?

Airports are considered federal facilities, and therefore this act affects your ability to enter in order to board your flight.

Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/ID or another acceptable form of identification (like a passport or passport card) for accessing federal facilities — including boarding commercial aircraft.

Residents of states that have already begun issuing the new licenses have until October 1, 2020, to obtain a REAL ID compliant license. So just check your license to be sure.

If it is REAL ID compliant, there will be a star in the top right corner; many drivers may not realize they already have one, since some states have been issuing them for a few years.

But if you have a driver’s license from one of the states that have been granted an extension, your license is good for air travel through the dates noted in our chart unless additional extensions are granted.

Each state varies slightly. Also, note that these dates are not set in stone, as states may still obtain another extension beyond these dates as well.

Bottom Line: If you are not in compliance with the REAL ID Act by your state’s deadline, you will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board your flight.

What the REAL ID Act ISN’T

A REAL ID is NOT a substitute for a passport for international travel. There are also a few other things that REAL ID doesn’t affect.

REAL ID requirements don’t apply to:

  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • Entering federal facilities that do not require identification
  • Accessing health- or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigation

Do I Need A REAL ID?

In most instances, obtaining a REAL ID isn’t necessary. There are still many reasons why people will choose to obtain a REAL ID. Here is a breakdown of some common reasons to consider getting a REAL ID and a few reasons why you might not need one.

Do I Need a REAL ID

Common Reasons To Obtain A REAL ID

• You want to fly with only your state-issued ID
• You don’t have a passport or another TSA-approved ID (listed below)
• You need to visit a secure federal facility, such as a military base, and don’t have a military ID

Reasons You May Not Need a REAL ID

• You are under 18 years old
• You only need your ID for purposes of identification
• You don’t mind bringing another TSA-approved ID (like a passport) along when you fly starting on Oct. 1, 2020

State by State Guidance

Now that you know what REAL ID is and how it affects you, we want to make sure you understand each state’s status. Since licenses are issued at the state-level, each process is slightly different.

Check out our map below for more information:

Here’s that information in a table format:

StateREAL ID StatusStateREAL ID Status
AlabamaIn ComplianceMontanaIn Compliance
AlaskaIn ComplianceNebraskaIn Compliance
ArizonaIn ComplianceNevadaIn Compliance
ArkansasIn ComplianceNew HampshireIn Compliance
CaliforniaUnder Review through May 24, 2019New JerseyExtension through October 10, 2019
ColoradoIn ComplianceNew MexicoIn Compliance
ConnecticutIn ComplianceNew YorkIn Compliance
DelawareIn ComplianceNorth CarolinaIn Compliance
FloridaIn ComplianceNorth DakotaIn Compliance
GeorgiaIn ComplianceOhioIn Compliance
HawaiiIn ComplianceOklahomaExtension through October 10, 2019
IdahoIn ComplianceOregonExtension through October 10, 2019
IllinoisIn CompliancePennsylvaniaExtension through August 1, 2019
IndianaIn ComplianceRhode IslandIn Compliance
IowaIn ComplianceSouth CarolinaIn Compliance
KansasIn ComplianceSouth DakotaIn Compliance
KentuckyExtension through August 1, 2019TennesseeIn Compliance
LouisianaIn ComplianceTexasIn Compliance
MaineExtension through October 10, 2019UtahIn Compliance
MarylandIn ComplianceVermontIn Compliance
MassachusettsIn ComplianceVirginiaIn Compliance
MichiganIn ComplianceWashingtonIn Compliance
MinnesotaIn ComplianceWest VirginiaIn Compliance
MississippiIn ComplianceWisconsinIn Compliance
MissouriIn ComplianceWyomingIn Compliance

Now that you know where your state stands, don’t forget to check out the steps you should take next.

In order to get a Real ID-compliant license, you must physically go to a DMV office with your identification documents, such as a birth certificate and passport.

States will not send you a REAL ID-compliant license automatically. All states are issuing compliant IDs, however, individuals may still choose not to upgrade their licenses.

What If My State Is Real ID-Compliant?

You will be able to use your state-issued ID at airports through October 1, 2020. After that date, you will still need a REAL ID (or another TSA-approved ID) in order to fly – both domestically and internationally.

What If My State Has Received an Extension or is Under Review?

If you have a REAL ID, you are good to go! If not, you will still able to use your state-issued ID at airports through the dates listed in the chart above. Additional extensions may be granted, but this isn’t a guarantee. Be sure to check back close to the expiration date for updates!

Steps to Take to Get a Compliant ID

Steps To Get a REAL ID - Upgraded Points

Step 1: Make an appointment to visit a DMV field office before your state’s deadline. Here are the links to all of the local DMVs to help you get started with this process.

Websites Across The U.S.
Alabama DPSAlaska DMVArizona DMVArkansas DFA
California DMVColorado DMVConnecticut DMVDelaware DMV
Florida HSMVGeorgia DDVHawaii CSDIdaho TD
Illinois ILSOSIndiana BMVIowa DOTKansas DOV
Kentucky DMVLouisiana DMVMaine BMVMaryland MVA
Massachusetts RMVMichigan SOSMinnesota DPSMississippi DSB
Missouri DORMontana MVDNebraska DMVNevada DMV
New Hampshire DMVNew Jersey MVCNew Mexico MVDNew York DMV
North Carolina DMVNorth Dakota DOTOhio BMVOklahoma DPS
Oregon DMVPennsylvania DMVRhode Island DMVSouth Carolina DMV
South Dakota DPSTennessee DMVTexas DPSUtah DMV
Vermont DMVVirginia DMVWashington DOLWashington, D.C. DMV
West Virginia DMVWisconsin DOTWyoming DOT

Step 2: On the day of your appointment, make sure you bring all necessary documents.  Here are the requirements with notable allowed documents.  Be sure to check with your local DMV to confirm.

  • Proof of identity, such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card, or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
  • Proof of your Social Security Number, such as an SSN card, W-2, or paystub with full SSN.
  • (2) Proof of residency documents, such as a rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill or employment, medical or school document.
  • If applicable: An original or certified copy of a name change document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, may be required.

Step 3: Pay fee for license. This will vary by state, but is generally less than $60. Check your state’s DMV website for the specific fee schedule.

What If I Don’t Want a Real ID-Compliant License?

You don’t have to upgrade your license in order to board your flight, but you will have to use an alternative (TSA-approved) form of ID. TSA currently accepts several other forms of identity documents:

TSA-Compliant Forms of ID - Upgraded Points

As you can see, the most common alternatives to a REAL ID will be a U.S. passport or U.S. passport card.

Other less common items would be DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST), permanent resident card, Department of Defense ID, enhanced driver’s license, or federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID.

For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website.

However, it should be noted that if the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint to board their flight.

What About Children Under 18?

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification though.

Specific airlines may demand proof of the child’s age, such as a birth certificate or passport, but this is not regulated by TSA. Contact the specific airline for more information.

Final Thoughts

Now is the time to make sure you know the requirements in order to be REAL ID compliant.

In some states, it may take a few weeks (or longer!) to get an appointment at your local DMV. By taking steps towards compliance now, you can avoid the last-minute rush and be ready to go long before October 2020.


What is the real ID card?

A real ID is a form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a real ID or another TSA-approved form of identification in order to fly after October 1, 2020.

Which states have real ID?

Currently, all states are either in compliance with the Real ID Act or have an extension in place. This means that they are currently able to issue real IDs. Check our graphic above to make sure you know exactly where your state stands.

Do you need a Real ID to fly?

A Real ID is one valid form of identification you can use in order to fly. However, there are many other TSA-approved forms of identification that are also acceptable. Note that you will still need your US passport in order to travel internationally.

Do I need a real ID to fly domestic?

A Real ID is one valid form of identification you can use in order to fly. However, there are many other TSA-approved forms of identification that are also acceptable. Be sure to check out our graphic above for other documents that will be accepted at airport security.

Do I need a passport if I have a real ID?

If you are travelling internationally, you will still need your US passport. If you are travelling domestically, you will only need one valid form of identification – either your real ID OR your passport, not both.

What documents are needed for a real ID?

States require you to go to your local DMV and present 1) proof of identity, 2) proof of your Social Security Number, 3) proof of residency document, and 4) if applicable, proof of name change document.

See our checklist above for examples of each of these items as well as more information on how to obtain a real ID.

Do my kids need a REAL ID?

TSA does not currently require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. So as long as you have your documents in order, kids will not need a REAL ID.

Christy Rodriguez

About Christy Rodriguez

Christy’s first international travel experience was for a summer study abroad program in Italy. After that, she knew that she was destined to travel as much as physically (and financially) possible. Luckily, her husband got a job at Southwest Airlines, so they were introduced to the exciting world of “non-rev” travel. Seven years later, she has visited over 30 countries, mostly on standby.


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  1. Thanks! This is a very informative and useful article.

  2. Troy Winslow Benson · March 7, 2019 · Reply

    I found it helpful, I have my Real ID Compliant Drivers License in PA Now. It arrived online after a simple pre registration process and I ordered it online on March 1, 2019 and it arrived today.

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 7, 2019 · Reply

      Thank you Troy, glad to hear that you found our article useful and that you were able to get your license so easily!

    • Blanca · May 13, 2019 · Reply

      Can I travel with my foreign passport domestically after October 2020? If I dont have a real ID?

      • Christy Rodriguez · May 13, 2019 · Reply

        Hi Blanca, there are a few more details I would need from you in order to answer your question.
        First, do you have any U.S. state-issued IDs? If not, you will always need your valid foreign passport or similar documentation to travel domestically. These are all listed on TSA’s site:
        If you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident, you can apply for a REAL ID if you prefer. See the article above for all the details on how to do this.
        But at a high-level – yes, you will need a foreign passport if you don’t have an ID issued in the U.S – both before and after October 2020.

  3. corey jacob · March 8, 2019 · Reply

    I been told by DMV “residency documents” are useless unless the document is mailed directly to a permanent address. example SSI SSDI proof can’t be mailed to a PO box. It has to be mailed to permanent address

    Having the documents itself is useless if your homeless. with no permanent address that is part of the documents cover page that shows on the front of mailed documents.

    I as a homeless person born in Minnesota lost my citizenship through this catch 22 I will shortly be blocked from freedom of movement and will be unable to access services such as SSI office.

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Corey, it definitely sounds like you are in a unique situation. Our best advice would be to contact your local DMV directly (we have the links in our article) to see if they have an other alternatives to offer you. Best of luck to you!

      • Ca. is in review until may 24 if I fly out on May 17 and Ca is still not in compliance will I be able to board a plane?

        • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Nadia! “Under Review” means they are reviewing the extension. In the meantime, your CA license is still a valid form of ID through that May 24th date. You’ll be good with your normal license when you fly on the 17th.

          • Richelle Brittain · April 14, 2019

            In addition, CA’s “under review” status is largely to assure they carry out corrective action for the Real IDs they previously issued with only one proof of address. (Real ID rules generally require TWO proofs of address, NOT just one; that’s what got CA in trouble.) CA has already announced its corrective action (they will be notified to bring a second proof of address at next renewal), so it’s likely CA will move to either “extension” or “compliant” status after May 24. For the vast majority of people, the “real” Real ID deadline is October 1, 2020; anything else is subject to extension at DHS’ discretion until then.

          • Christy Rodriguez · April 14, 2019

            Thanks for the additional information Richelle!

          • Thank you I was just wondering bout flying back home.

          • Christy Rodriguez · April 19, 2019

            Glad to help!

        • Tim Renner · April 20, 2019 · Reply

          Can you use the REAL ID license to regain entry into the U.S if you go into Canada.

          • Christy Rodriguez · April 21, 2019

            Hi Tim, your REAL ID would not be sufficient to either leave or re-enter the US from Canada. You will still need a passport (or passport card, etc.) for all international travel.

            Note: There are a few states that have issued “enhanced IDs” that permits limited international travel, so let me know if this is what you were referring to!

  4. Jonathan D Smithweiss · March 11, 2019 · Reply

    Wait this is a very confusing article. What’s the point of the state’s extension if it doesn’t go into effect until 2020. Why would a state need an extension that ends before the date? I wonder as I’m from California and I have a domestic flight on April 10 which is after the deadline but there’s no way I would be able to obtain a real ID before then as I had to order a new birth certificate and my Passport is expired

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jonathan, extensions are granted on an “as needed basis” and are done to give states extra time to comply with the Act. As noted in the article, states may still obtain an additional extension through 2020, but it is NOT guaranteed. While it is highly likely that California will get an additional extension past April, we just can’t guarantee that with the current information.

      If they do not receive an extension, then starting on the date noted in our chart, you will need another valid form of ID in order to board your flight.

      Also note that you don’t need a REAL ID to fly. You can also use other valid forms of ID such as a Global Entry card. Best of luck to you Jonathan!

  5. Hi, Christy.
    Thanks for this article, it really was very helpful. However, I do have a question. I live in Illinois and our extension is good until June 1, 2019. So, if it’s not extended beyond that date, does that mean that we’ll need other forms of ID to fly starting on June 2, 2019? I have my passport so I’m not as concerned about me. But we have kids who don’t have passports or other acceptable forms of ID and I’m trying to see what we can do for flights after June 1 this year. Appreciate any extra info that you can provide!

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 12, 2019 · Reply

      Thank you for the kind words Joe! Yes, that is what it means regarding the June 1st date. It is very likely that there will be additional extensions, but they just can’t be guaranteed.

      However, TSA does not currently require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. As long as you have your documentation in order (either the Passport, REAL ID, etc) then you should be set!

  6. Teri Clark · March 12, 2019 · Reply

    Hi I have a question. I live in NJ. We are a state that has an extension. We are going on vacation to Florida in May. Florida is a state that is already complient. I dont need the real id to leave NJ but will I need it to fly back from Florida?

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Teri! Thanks for your comment. The extension relates to the state that your ID was issued in, not where you are flying in and out of. If you are worried about your ID not being valid due to the extension, make sure that you bring along one of the other valid forms of ID noted in our article.

  7. Brianna Jenkins · March 18, 2019 · Reply

    Hey, I am a little confused. Do state IDs – not drivers license, count as real identification? And can they be used to travel domestically?

    I only ask because I’m from Illinois and will be traveling soon to California. I don’t have a passport yet but I keep getting mixed reviews from family and the policies on the internet.

    • Stephen Au · March 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Brianna,

      Keep in mind that the REAL ID act is only effective starting October 1, 2020. You can still use your state ID until then for domestic flights. After that, you’ll need to use your passport or get an ID or driver’s license that is in compliance with the REAL ID Act. Thanks for reading.

  8. Jonathan · March 20, 2019 · Reply

    Do I need to upgrade my photo ID card that has a star?

    • Christy Rodriguez · March 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jonathan, in general, you should be good since your ID has a star on it. However, we’d still recommend checking your state (each with links in the article) to double check!

  9. Michael Grayburn · April 1, 2019 · Reply

    Help me save some stress.. haha
    We come back from our honeymoon this coming September 1. We will immediately begin the name change process before our next flight (Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale) in the second week of November. Because of her license expiring in June 2020, we weren’t planning on purchasing the Real ID during the name change license. Will we be okay on our flights coming back? I guess I confuse the rules if you are flying into a compliant state while mine is on extension.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Michael! Thanks for your comment. To start off with, you don’t have to purchase a REAL ID – you may be confusing this with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. A REAL ID compliant ID is just your state-issued license. In addition it doesn’t matter what states you are flying into – it only matters what state your ID was issued in.

      My advice is after you get back from your honeymoon, immediately begin her name change process. This by itself should provide her with a REAL ID-compliant ID! Go to your specific state’s DMV (listed above) to see requirements, but you will definitely need her name-change information. On another note, make sure you book her flight in November with her new last name that matches her new ID or she could be denied boarding!

      Hope this helps!

  10. Jose romero · April 3, 2019 · Reply

    I’m a little confused… Hope you can help me. I’m from California and I have no passport, only my driver’s license and ID but both say federal limits apply. I’m flying out to Florida on the 7th and come back the 10th. Can I fly out with my current ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 3, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jose! Currently, it looks like there hasn’t been granted an extension in California, so on April 10th, your state ID wouldn’t get you through the TSA checkpoint. You don’t need a passport necessarily – there are a few other valid ID options noted above that you may have?

      That being said, this could definitely change in the next few days, so be sure to check here for the most current information:

      Hope this helps!

      • Christy, I’m concerned that your advise may not be correct.
        I think that the state extensions are for the states to comply with the laws regarding issuance of these REAL IDs.
        For example, from the above link:
        “To apply for a REAL ID driver license or identification card, you must visit a DMV field office and provide… Beginning April 2019, two different California residency documents, such as a utility bill, rental agreement, mortgage statement or medical document.”

        This is because up until that date California’s extension allows it to continue with a non-compliant issuance process.

        However, the specific advice to individual travelers should be, as I think I understand:
        “You will need a REAL ID driver license or ID card if you want to continue using your driver license or ID card to … Board a domestic flight starting October 1, 2020.”

        • Christy Rodriguez · April 5, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Greg, thanks for your comment. You are correct – states are given extensions in order to be given extra time comply with REAL ID. However, if the extension is not renewed (and specifically for CA, currently the extension is set to expire on April 10, 2019), then an ID that is not REAL ID-compliant would no longer by sufficient to get through TSA security. This can obviously change if an additional extension is granted.

          Pulled directly from DHS’s website: “Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification. If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.”

          Ultimately, the October 1, 2020 date is the date which everyone must have a REAL ID (or alternate form of ID).
          Hope this helps!

  11. Hi Christy, I live in CT which is already compliant. I have a flight at the end of the month but do not have a Real ID. Will I be able to fly with my drivers license, I should be good until 2020 correct?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 4, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Dave!

      Yes, you are correct. If you have a license issued by a state that is compliant (or that has an extension to become compliant) with REAL ID requirements, you may continue to use your license as usual. Starting on Oct 1, 2020, you will also need to have a compliant ID. Hope this helps!

  12. brenda · April 5, 2019 · Reply

    Hi. I am confused about the passport card. You mention that you will need a passport card or passport book to fly internationally. I was told that you could not fly internationally with a passport card. The passport card is only for travel within the US. Am I mistaken?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 5, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Brenda! The passport card is a limited travel document, but it can be used to travel internationally. It specifically covers land and sea travel within North American(encompassing Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda), so it wouldn’t be valid for a flight.

      Hope this helps!

  13. Anita Kobrin · April 8, 2019 · Reply

    I am flying domestic in September 2019. I have an Illinois state ID but do not have a passport. Will the Illinois ID be acceptable?

    • Christine Krzyszton · April 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Anita. Yes, your Illinois ID will be acceptable to fly at that time.

  14. MannyOnThaStreets · April 9, 2019 · Reply

    I don’t think you have the correct information for CA. According to the CA DMV, it says, “Valid California driver license/ID cards will be accepted to board a domestic flight and to enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.” I am flying within CA at the end of April and won’t have a Real ID by then.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Manny, California changed their status as of this morning. Currently, they are “Under Review” until May 24th, so your license will for sure be good until that date. The best place to receive CA-specific information is here:

      After that, they may receive additional extensions or be deemed to be in compliance – but this is pending.

      If they do not receive an extension, per the DHS (who is the ultimate source to look at, as they implement and enforce these changes – not CA), “Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification. If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.”

  15. Helen Chapple · April 9, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, will my license be considered a “real id” if there is no star in the upper right corner, but a U. S. Flag in the bottom right corner. Our news reporter just said it was but I’m confused about it.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Helen, unfortunately you didn’t mention which state your ID was issued in. I do know that NY has a US Flag that signifies an enhanced license. In addition to all the benefits of a REAL ID, an enhanced ID also allows you to to enter the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries!

      We do have links to each state’s DMV above though, so I recommend finding yours and double-checking. Hope this helps!

  16. Miklaus Schnabel · April 9, 2019 · Reply

    I keep seeing/reading about this whole “must have a star” on the ID/license, however here in WA state,I just renewed/upgraded to the enhanced license(with NO star on it), and I am told it is in compliance w/ the Real ID law. But everywhere I turn, I’m seeing this subject about it having a star on the card. This makes me nervous,since I already went to the DMV, along w/ all the proper documents etc, JUST for the purpose of getting the ID that will be in compliance in 2020. So, does it HAVE to have the star on the card or not? (sorry, having a hard time finding the right answer!)

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Miklaus, happy to help! So a star is the standard across all states, but not required! (They like to make it confusing!)

      You did mention that you had an enhanced ID – this is a type of REAL ID! Like you said, you had to go to the DMV and provide additional documentation, so this satisfies the new requirements. You should be good to go now and past 2020! Hope this helps.

  17. Jackie L. · April 10, 2019 · Reply

    Great article! My Maryland driver’s license is expiring this summer, so I will be getting the REAL ID/license combo.

    Question: one of the documents that I can bring to the DMV to apply for the REAL ID is my passport. My passport has been expired for maybe a decade. Will they still accept it as one of the docs? Thanks!!!

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jackie, glad to hear that the article was useful!

      Usually only an unexpired passport can be used for purposes of obtaining a REAL ID. A passport is only one of the documents you can bring when applying for a REAL ID though. To show proof of your identity, I suggest bringing your birth certificate (along with any name change documents, if any) instead of your expired passport.

  18. Todd Corson · April 10, 2019 · Reply

    In Texas, IDs and licenses are issued by the Department of Public Safety (, not the DMV. The DMV handles vehicle registration, plates, and titles.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Todd, thanks for the catch! Rather embarrassing as I lived in Texas until recently.

      We’ve updated our chart with the correct website. Thanks again.

  19. Gicela Cedillo · April 10, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I became a US citizen and my citizenship certificate was taken at the social security office when I went to make legal status changes. This was back in 1992 when citizen ship was fairly new. I have my birth certificate from where I was originally born but not my citizenship certificate because SSI office took it. What else may I provide as proof to get the real ID? I have my social security card.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Gicela. I’d recommend looking at our graphic above for full list of eligible documents, but at a high level, you’ll need to bring a few documents when you go in to renew your license.

      1) Your social security card that you noted you had, 2) 2 proofs of residency, and 3) proof of identity (a birth certificate is only one option, but a US passport/passport card is another).

      Best of luck to you!

  20. Elizabeth Ann Hall · April 10, 2019 · Reply

    I currently have a California Real ID driver’s license. To get it I used my Social Security Card,my birth certificate, marriage license from first marriage, divorce papers from this marriage, marriage license for second marriage , deed to house, previous driver’s license and a Pg &E bill. What more do I need ?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Elizabeth! Sorry, but I’m unsure of your question. It sounds like you have a REAL ID already?

      Your REAL ID will work as ID to get you on all domestic flights moving forward. You won’t need any of the additional documents you noted above.

  21. I will be flying out on May 11 and coming back on May 30. I do not have a real id, but I live in California. Will I be able to fly out and come back if our state has til May 24th ?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 11, 2019 · Reply

      It’s very likely that California will be granted an additional extension past May 24th, but it isn’t certain. Just to be safe, I would advise you to bring another TSA-approved form of ID (listed above in the article) on your trip.

      As always, for the most up-to-date information, we recommend checking directly with DHS here:

  22. Hi! I have a Maryland driver’s license that was issued in 2017. I have a star in the top right area, but when I go to the state website and enter my number, it tells me I must bring documents when I renew. Are they putting stars on non compliant licenses also?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 14, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Will! Unfortunately each state is different and it looks like Maryland WAS issuing IDs with a little star without being REAL ID compliant. Found on the MVA website, “Maryland residents who currently have a driver’s license with the small star in the upper right hand corner will still need to submit the same documentation to the MVA in order to get the REAL ID.”

      The easiest way to know would be to see if you had physically gone to the MVA and produce additional documents like a passport, social security card, proof of residency, etc? If not, then you won’t be compliant. We recommend checking your state’s website for all of the requirements here:

      Regardless, Maryland is a compliant state, so you have until October 2020 to get your new ID (if you need to).

  23. Bob Poli · April 19, 2019 · Reply

    My wife just renewed her driver’s license in January of this year. Ohio is compliant, but on her license it stated ‘Not For Federal ID’. It was never explained to her that there is another type of license that had the star. She paid for her license and, I’m assuming, by next year she will have to get another driver’s license….and pay again. Why is Ohio forcing you to purchase two licenses within a year. Was there a mistake made at the BMV in not telling her about the Real ID license. Thanks for any help in this matter.


    • Christy Rodriguez · April 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Bob, sorry to hear that you went through this! I’ve heard that this has been the case in many states since these non-compliant IDs are still being issued.

      That bring said, we are Upgraded Points, a website that publishes articles based on points and miles content as well as other travel related pieces. We are not affiliated with the Ohio BMV so can’t answer why they did not inform your wife of her options for an ID.

      Given the information you’ve provided, your wife would need to get another appointment if she would like to fly with just her license. Note that there are other forms of ID that we’ve noted above (like a valid passport) that TSA will also accept, so she could bring this starting Oct 2020 if she doesn’t want to go through that process again. Hope this helps!

      • My question is kind of related. In Ohio do you have to get this new TSA approved id? My mother has never flown and probably never will and so won’t have any use for it. As her license is up for renewal she’s looking at getting the compliant id because “the government will be forcing me to get one next year tho I don’t know why I’ll never use it, it’s just a big hassle”… does she have to get it or can she renew the basic license? There’s lots of information on the new TSA id but nothing that says either way if you have to get it or not. The local BMV wasn’t any real help on the subject either. Just trying to save her the headache and possible extra cost.

        • Christy Rodriguez · April 21, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Fred!

          No, the REAL ID is definitely NOT a requirement. When she gets her ID, it will still be good for purposes of identification. Sounds like she doesn’t need to go through the hassle of getting this if she won’t use it to fly. Hope this helps!

  24. Bryan O. · April 19, 2019 · Reply

    Thank you for this article. It has helped clear up some questions I have.

    If I’m understanding correctly, my California driver’s license is still a valid form of ID for passing through a TSA checkpoint until Oct. 2020, even if it is stamped with “Federal Limits Apply”? (Subject to the results of the DHS review of California as mentioned above, of course)

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 19, 2019 · Reply

      Glad to hear this Bryan! Yes, assuming CA continues to have an extension or is deemed to be in compliance, all CA licenses would be valid through Oct. 2020. I would definitely keep an eye on this space towards the end of May (when CA’s current review is up) just to be sure.

  25. William Dickinson · April 20, 2019 · Reply

    In Maryland, both my wife and I have TSA PreCheck. Since we went through an identical ID rigmarole that the state now wants for a Real ID driver’s license, can’t we just show them our TSA Precheck document?

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hi William, unfortunately that won’t work as your ID is issued by Maryland’s MVA and TSA PreCheck is issued by the Department of Homeland Security. They are two completely separate entities that don’t overlap, so you will have to apply for both.

  26. Christopher Kidwell · April 30, 2019 · Reply

    This is a big royal pain to people like myself who have no job and no bills because we are living with parents.
    I am in Maryland and the Maryland MVA basically told me I am out of luck, because I do not have two residency proofs because of my job and bill situation.

    What is the point with this REAL ID law? These things will be easily faked in less than 1 year judging by past attempts at making a ‘tamper-proof I.D.’.

    • Christy Rodriguez · April 30, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Christopher, I’m sorry you are having difficulty obtaining a REAL ID. We are simply reporting on the requirements as noted by the Department of Homeland Security, so we can’t comment on your comments about fake IDs.

      If you look above in our article though, you can see some alternative forms of ID that are also acceptable when you fly – obtaining a REAL ID isn’t mandatory. And since you are from a state that is in compliance, note above that you still have some time (until Oct. 1, 2020) to get your real ID if not.

      Best of luck to you!

  27. Kim Pham · May 2, 2019 · Reply

    How long will a Real ID last? 5 years, 10 years?


    • Christy Rodriguez · May 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kim, your REAL ID validity is the same as your state-issued license’s validity. You didn’t mention which state your license was issued in, but validity varies by state and also based on how old you are. I would suggest finding your state above for more information or responding here so I can give you more a more detailed answer. Thanks!

  28. John Sorrell · May 6, 2019 · Reply

    I am a little confused. I travel internationally and domestically and this is the first time i have heard or read anything on this Real ID Act. My question is; If I have a valid passport, may I travel both internationally and domestically? Do I require the additional Real ID document? I also carry a valid, up to date, drivers license.
    Thank you and regards
    John Sorrell

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 6, 2019 · Reply

      Hi John! You might have seen signs about the change in the TSA line, but not realized it. They’ve been making an effort to get the word out there before 2020, but plenty of people still don’t know. You’re not alone there!

      First, you will always need your passport to travel internationally. A REAL ID is also necessary if you don’t want to travel with your passport DOMESTICALLY after Oct. 1, 2020. In addition, a license can still be current and not be a REAL ID. Check out the article above for all of the details of what to check for and links to your specific state’s website to check if your license is already a REAL ID. If you have a REAL ID then you will not need to travel domestically with your passport after that 2020 date noted above.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Curtis · May 8, 2019 · Reply

    I moved from Florida to Texas . My Florida DL is a real ID license, so what’s the point of using real ID if I still need to show proof of being a U.S. citizen when I move to Texas. Why doesn’t it transfer over?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Curtis, licenses are issued at the state level, so they will not transfer over. Each state has their own requirements and is unable to rely on other states’ processes. For example, recently CA got in trouble for only requiring one proof of residency instead of two, whoops!

      Unfortunately, you will have to go through the same process again to obtain a REAL ID in Texas as well. Sorry about that!

  30. Ana C · May 10, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I am confused about traveling domestic, I am from MA I flying to San Francisco on May 17/2019 coming back the 30 /2019, I don’t have a real ID upgrade yet, I have my regular license. Can I still use my license to travel to CA

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 10, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ana, MA has an extension through October 10, 2019 as you can see in the above graph. This means that your regular ID is good through at least then (or until Oct. 1, 2020 if additional extensions are granted). You will definitely need a REAL ID to travel domestically after that 2020 date, but you will be fine for your upcoming trip.

      In addition, this Act applies to where your license was issued, not where you are traveling to or from. Enjoy your upcoming trip!

  31. Diana Q. · May 11, 2019 · Reply

    I am bit confused about traveling domestically. I have a flight from Virginia to California on 5/22 and come back to Virginia on 6/4. I do not have a real id, only a drivers license from Virginia. Am I okay to fly till 2020 or do I need an alternate form of id for my flights?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Diana, the REAL ID requirements apply to where your license was issued (in your case, Virginia), not where you are flying. Virginia is “in compliance”, so your license will be good through Oct. 1, 2020. After that date, you will need a REAL ID (or another TSA-approved ID noted in our article above) to fly domestically.

  32. Jenny · May 17, 2019 · Reply

    I recently lost my license and had it replaced. However they gave me a Not for Real ID purposes license. I am flying from MO to FL at the end of the month. The DMV as well as Southwest told me I was good to fly with that license alone (no passport or other forms of documents needed) until Oct 2020 due to MO receiving an extension. I do not have a passport just that license. Is this correct? Thank you!

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 17, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jenny, MO is actually compliant! Because of that (like they noted), your license will be good for boarding planes through Oct. 1, 2020. After that time, you would need to have a compliant ID (or other form of ID noted in the article) to fly. Hope this helps!

  33. Gerrie · May 18, 2019 · Reply

    I have a regular California driver’s license and need to fly from Colorado to California on May 29th, will I be able to?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 18, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Gerrie! When you say “regular” driver’s license, I assume you mean one that is not a REAL ID? If you have a REAL ID (which is also a regular license!), you will be good to travel with just that moving forward.

      If you don’t have a REAL ID – it’s likely that CA will receive an additional extension or be deemed “In Compliance”, but we just can’t say with the information DHS currently has available. Our suggestion would be to watch this space closer to the May 24th date that the current review is up. Also, it never hurts to bring another form of TSA-approved ID (noted above) as well.

  34. Pam McLaughlin · May 19, 2019 · Reply

    If your current license doesn’t expire until 2022 and you go to the Registry to get the Real Id, will the license still expire in 2022 or will it renew for another 5 years? It seems like you just have to pay, pay, pay.

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Pam, each state is different, so it’s hard to say with absolute certainty. However, your license should be good for the entire length of a normal renewal (states with length of validity from 4-8 years). The best way to get a solid answer would be to contact your state directly at the links we’ve included in the article above.

      Also note that a REAL ID isn’t mandatory! If the cost just isn’t something you can/want to incur, you can always bring another form of TSA-approved ID listed above to fly. Hope this helps!

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