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 that issue licenses and identification cards, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, require more paperwork regarding proof of residency and Social Security Number under the new act than necessary to obtain standard licenses.

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 directly 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. Enhanced IDs aren’t a substitute for passports for air travel to these places.

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 them 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.

Most states and territories have already begun issuing the new licenses, so you will 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

You can continue to use your regular license or identification to do all of the items above without obtaining a Real ID.

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 (ie. to vote, serve on a jury, driving)
• 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
CaliforniaIn ComplianceNew JerseyUnder Review
ColoradoIn ComplianceNew MexicoIn Compliance
ConnecticutIn ComplianceNew YorkIn Compliance
DelawareIn ComplianceNorth CarolinaIn Compliance
FloridaIn ComplianceNorth DakotaIn Compliance
GeorgiaIn ComplianceOhioIn Compliance
HawaiiIn ComplianceOklahomaExtension through September 18, 2020
IdahoIn ComplianceOregonExtension through August 7, 2020
IllinoisIn CompliancePennsylvaniaIn Compliance
IndianaIn ComplianceRhode IslandIn Compliance
IowaIn ComplianceSouth CarolinaIn Compliance
KansasIn ComplianceSouth DakotaIn Compliance
KentuckyIn ComplianceTennesseeIn Compliance
LouisianaIn ComplianceTexasIn Compliance
MaineIn ComplianceUtahIn 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.

Bottom Line: States will not send you a REAL ID-compliant license automatically. While most states are issuing compliant IDs, 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 October 1, 2020 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?

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.  If you have any issues or concerns with obtaining one or more of the documents, we suggest checking directly with your local DMV.

  • 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 our graphic below for specific costs.

Can I Transfer My Real ID Between States?

No you can’t. Unfortunately, federal requirements don’t allow for the transfer of a Real ID license between states. Each state is required to view and image all documentation upon original issuance in that state.

This means that you when you move, you will need to go in person to present the same documentation such as a U.S. birth certificate or passport, Social Security card, and two proofs of residence address, as well as meet all of your new state’s issuance requirements.

On a positive note, Real ID licenses from other states can typically be used like any other out-of-state driver license to waive behind-the-wheel drive tests.

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 on or after Oct. 1, 2020, the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint to board their flight.

How much does a REAL ID cost?

One question you might want to be answered is the cost of a READ ID in your state. That price varies significantly throughout the country. It’s set by the state and the state also determines if the process for getting a REAL ID (when updating your driver’s license) is a renewal, duplicate, or a new license. Below is a map that has information on cost and process in each state.

Note that Oregon has said that there will be an additional fee for REAL IDs but has not determined that cost yet.

Potential State Revenue

Additionally, we were interested in estimating just how much revenue states might be bringing in due to the new REAL IDs. For this, we used the cost from the above numbers and multiplied them by the estimated number of drivers in each state, according to information from the Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.

This estimation is based on what we would consider the max possible revenue. As in, if every driver in each state got a new license for the REAL ID act. Because the new IDs are not mandatory, we understand that not everyone may get one. However, this is an approximation of revenue.

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 1, 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 was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but lived in Texas the majority of her life. Now, work has her living in the Bay Area with her husband and yellow lab. Her 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 possible. Luckily, her husband worked at Southwest Airlines, so they were introduced to the exciting world of “non-rev” travel.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


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

    • Hey Deacon, so glad you enjoyed it!

    • I received my REAL ID already in MA. Now I am living in Fl. Does anyone know if I need to go through that whole process again since I’ve already been accepted as “REAL” ha ha. In other words, is the information transferable?

      • Hi Susan,

        I think it is likely you will have to go through it again since you are now living in another state, but I would reach out to the Florida Transportation Administration office directly to get the most accurate information.

        • Brenda G · October 28, 2019 · Reply

          Nope, you must go through the entire process again. Look at the above article with the heading listed below “Can I transfer my Real ID between States?”

          • Hi Brenda,

            If you read my comment, that is exactly why I told her that she will likely have to go through the process again.
            However, I do not represent the Department of Transportation, which is why I advised her to contact them.

            Thanks for reading!

  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!

      • I think it important to help others based on an experience I witnessed yesterday while securing my real ID:

        DMV employee to a female customer: “Do you have your forms of I’d?”
        Customer: “Yes.”
        DMV employee: “I need a social security card that shows your married name or hyphenated married name.”
        Customer: “Really, the site does not indicate that would be needed. This is the social security card I was given at birth.”
        DMV employee: “We have to have something official with your social showing your married name or we can not proceed. Do you happen to have a copy of a W2 that shows your married name with social?”
        Customer: “No, I do not. Is there no other way around this?”
        DMV employee: “I am sorry that is not. If you can secure a W2 with your married name and social, we would accept it and it would prevent you from having to secure a new social security card.”

        This is going to be an issue for many married women. I immediately informed my wife of this fact because the DMV web site in MD does not address this, nor inform female customers who have married names that they need to provide ID with social security info on it at the time of appointment.
        I hope this helps others avoid the frustration.


        • Christy Rodriguez · July 26, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Randy, thanks for documenting your experience trying to get a REAL ID. It will definitely help our other readers prepare.

          If you reference our article above, you can see that we note all of the requirements to obtain a REAL ID (including name change documents). You’re right that’s it’s definitely a lot to keep track of. Our hope was that by providing this list, we can help others avoid wasted time obtaining their REAL ID.

          Thanks for reading!

          • Dianna Miller · August 1, 2019

            This was my experience this morning renewing my license and attempting to get a Real ID. I read everything and spent yesterday trying to get all necessary documents. The one thing I could not find was my marriage certificate. But I had with me: my birth certificate, my Social Security card (with my married name), a document from SS with my name, current address and SS#, my transcript from a state college (to show my maiden name which matched my birth certificate name and my SS#…the same number that is on my SS card with my married name), a utility bill with married name and current address, a car title with my married name and current address, and my daughter’s birth certificate showing my maiden name and date of birth to match the information on the birth certificate. Yet, this was not enough information. I have lived at my address for 25 years and been married 23 years so nothing has changed recently. I thought I had enough government documents with all information matching as what I read said a marriage license MAY be needed if my name was different than shown on other government documents. This was a complete hassle. I guess I will wait 8 more years to get a Real ID when I renew my license again.

          • Christy Rodriguez · August 1, 2019

            Hi Dianna, thanks for sharing your experience. It was definitely a hassle when I had to get my REAL ID last year, so I empathize.

            Unfortunately, all your documents much match or you have to have an official document showing all name changes. This is the requirement set forth by the government to obtain a REAL ID.

            But yes, like you mentioned. You can definitely wait to obtain a REAL ID until you renew your license. Just make sure that you have a passport or other TSA-approved ID to travel (domestically and internationally) past Oct. 2020.

        • Brenda G · October 28, 2019 · Reply

          Whenever there is a name change, you are suppose to get a new driver’s license AND a SS card to become legally compliant.

      • Hi Christy. Can you apply online if you’ve already applied once before to renew your license online?

        • Christy Rodriguez · August 12, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Carla, unfortunately there are a lot of details I don’t have in order to answer your questions. Do you already have a REAL ID? If so, whether or not you can renew online will depend on your state’s guidance – things your age, number of times you’ve renewed online, etc. all matter. If you don’t have a REAL ID, you must actually go in-person to obtain this.

          Sorry it’s not a definitive answer, but it definitely depends on your specific situation. I would suggest calling your local DMV (links listed above) for a better answer. Thanks for reading!

    • 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.

      • Carolyn Blake · September 3, 2019 · Reply

        Is my “real ID” sufficient to enter Canada from North Dakota or do I need a passport?

        • Christy Rodriguez · September 3, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Carolyn. No, a REAL ID functions the same way as your state license, therefore you will still need your passport to travel to Canada.

          Thanks for reading!

  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!

          • My current driver’s license will expire in 2022, Do I still need to get a real ID or a driver’s license with a star by 2020?

          • Christy Rodriguez · August 23, 2019

            Hi Nalei, if you would like to travel with only your driver’s license, then yes you would need to get a REAL ID before the requirements go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020. If you prefer, you can travel with another form of TSA-approved ID like a passport (all are listed above in the article) starting on that Oct. 2020 date and wait to upgrade to a REAL ID once your current license expires.

            Hope this helps!

        • 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!

        • Jacqueline · June 15, 2019 · Reply

          I believe YOU are correct. As of today, June 15, 2019, on the CA DMV site, it says, “You will need a REAL ID driver license or identification card if you want to continue using your driver license or identification card to do any of the following: Board a flight within the United States **STARTING October 1, 2020** [EMPHASIS MINE].”

          • Christy Rodriguez · June 15, 2019

            Hi Jacqueline, if you note the date that I originally replied to Greg’s comment, it was before California was deemed to be in compliance (which was done in late May 2019). Now that they are in compliance, you are correct. You will only need a REAL ID starting in Oct. 1, 2020.

            Thanks for reading.

  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.

      • Austin G · August 30, 2019 · Reply

        Hi, I didn’t even realize that when I renewed my California license online, that my license now says “Federal Limits Apply”. I have a flight leaving from San Jose to New York, next week. I seriously doubt I can go into DMV and get a real id in time. Will my license prevent me from flying?

        • Christy Rodriguez · September 1, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Austin, the requirements for REAL ID don’t go into effect until Oct. 1, 2020, so you will be fine traveling domestically any time before then. Thanks for reading!

  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!

  35. Abbey · May 21, 2019 · Reply

    I just moved from Nevada to Pennsylvania. I have a star on my Nevada license will it automatically transfer when I go for my Pennsylvania license?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 22, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Abbey, no – unfortunately it won’t transfer over. Each state is in charge of issuing their own licenses and they do have separate processes that don’t allow for transfers. You will have to go through the process again of providing documents to obtain your PA license. Thanks for reading!

  36. Tanya · May 23, 2019 · Reply

    Hello, I have a flight for Denver CO tomorrow. I have an IL federal limits apply ID. Do I need any other for of identification to pass the check-point on airport?
    Thank you in advance

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 23, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Tanya, yes your license will be sufficient. Illinois is in compliance, so ALL licenses issued by Illinois will be good through Oct. 2020. Thanks for reading!

  37. Ok, I’m from California, the reviewing due date was tomorrow but apparently it is compliant now. I have a flight on June 13 but my license is not real ID compliant, Am i still be able to board the plane with it?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 23, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Tony! Yes, as you can see in the “What If My State is REAL ID Compliant” section above, we note that you will be able to use your state-issued ID at airports through October 1, 2020. After that 2020 date, you will need a REAL ID compliant ID (or other TSA-approved ID) to board your plane. Thanks for reading!

  38. Unknown · May 26, 2019 · Reply

    If this is “voluntary” why are you forcing us to get it? Just another way for “our government” to be able to track us.

    • Hello, please be advised we are not the Transportation Security Administration. We are Upgraded Points, a website publishing helpful content based on travel so readers can be better informed to travel in the least stressful way possible. As such, we cannot officially answer your question but we thank you for reading.

  39. Hi! I have a regular WA state ID and I’m flying to Florida next month. Will they accept my non-Real ID at the airport as a form of document?

    • Christy Rodriguez · May 30, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kim, as you can see in our graphic, Washington is In Compliance! It doesn’t matter where you are flying – only where your ID was issued.

      That being said, in the “What If My State Is Real ID-Compliant?” section it notes that you will be able to use your state-issued ID at airports through October 1, 2020. Only after that date, will you need a REAL ID (or another TSA-approved ID) in order to fly domestically.

      Thanks for reading!

  40. Denise · May 31, 2019 · Reply

    I live in Pennsylvania and only have a state issued drivers license, as does my husband and grandson. We are flying to Oregon in August. Will our drivers licenses work or will we extra forms of ID?

  41. John Bay · June 6, 2019 · Reply

    I live in Maryland and have read scary stories along the lines of: If I am stopped for a traffic violation and do not have a Real ID – compliant license, my license will be confiscated. Any truth to this?

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 6, 2019 · Reply

      Hi John. Simply put – no! There is no truth to this. In fact, REAL IDs aren’t even mandatory.

      You will need a REAL ID (or other TSA-compliant ID noted in our article above) to fly or enter other federal facilities after Oct. 1, 2020. However, you can continue to use your non-REAL ID compliant IDs for driving and for identification purposes forever. Hope this put some of your concerns to rest. Thanks for reading.

      • John Bay · June 13, 2019 · Reply

        Having looked into this further, I think you are wrong. In Maryland at least, Real ID is a requirement, not an option. See this recent piece from the Washington Post:

        • Christy Rodriguez · June 13, 2019 · Reply

          Hi John. The Maryland MVA wasn’t in compliance with one of the requirements of REAL ID. They were issuing licenses without scanning in copies of the documents (as required by the Act). This article specifically refers to the MVA’s responsibility to go back to those individuals that they had previously (and erroneously) issued the REAL ID’s and obtain additional documentation. The article never states that REAL ID’s are required.

          Noted specifically on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, “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, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.” Other acceptable forms of ID are noted in our article above.

          If you still have concerns, be sure to check out DHS’s website here:

  42. My ID just expired, and I have to wait to get a paper bill via USPS. I was doing all my bill paying electronically, so I haven’t had a paper bill in a few years.
    This might be a thing you have to do too, depending on your exact situation and/or the state you live in.
    Just a heads up. Switch to paper billing for a utility, just to be sure.
    This website was informative, though.
    PS: Don’t slack like I did…I have an ‘invalid’ ID right now…And will for a few more weeks, at least.

  43. PS: I’m in NM, and I was led to believe that a ‘Real ID’ ™ was my only choice for license renewal.
    In fact, I wasn’t given any other choice. So, yeah…It might be only a flight thing legally, but…You might be pressured/coerced anyway. The MVD here (what we call the DMV) was adamant that I meet ALL the Real ID requirements. I wasn’t given any options, I was shown a PDF of Real ID requirements. Period.

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Matt,

      Yes I’ve heard that many states are presenting the Real ID as the only option when renewing your license. The good news is that there are definitely advantages to having a REAL ID, especially when it comes to air travel starting in 2020. Thanks for your experience, it may help our readers be prepared for their trip to get their REAL ID!

      Thanks for reading!

  44. Cheri · June 9, 2019 · Reply

    Question. My mom is 82 and will not be flying anymore. She hardly even drives anymore. She doesn’t have wedding certificates or divorce papers to show her changes in names. She also has a birth certificate from 1937. Her license is good until 2025. Will she need to show all the documentation and get a Real ID license?

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Cheri! Be sure to check the “Do I Need a REAL ID” section for some common reasons why you wouldn’t need to get a REAL ID to make your final decision. From the information you’ve provided though, it doesn’t seem that your mom would need to get a REAL ID. She could simply renew her existing license without providing the additional documentation required for a REAL ID.

      Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

  45. Andrea · June 10, 2019 · Reply

    Very informative article! Thank you for the info. Just one quick question (since I hear different responses from different sources)…my partner and I are planning a trip to Florida later this year, I have a regular CA license (not Real ID) and he has a CA license which says “Federal Limits Apply.” We can still use these to travel CA to FL and back, correct? As long as its before October 2020?

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 10, 2019 · Reply

      Thank you for the feedback Andrea, it’s great to hear!

      And yes, you’re correct. Since CA is “in compliance”, you will both be good to fly with your current licenses until Oct 2020. After Oct 2020, you will both need to get a REAL ID OR bring another TSA-approved form of ID in order to fly. Enjoy your trip and thanks for reading!

  46. My understanding is that a persons ssn and birth certificate are scanned into a database attached to my current photo ID. Who maintains this data-base? As we have seen numerous agencies (TransUnion, Federal Banks, etc) have been hacked and millions of honest peoples information stolen. Would this not make it easier for ID theft? What steps have been put in place to ensure our safety?

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kimi. We are Upgraded Points, a blog specializing in credit card and travel-related resources. We are in no way involved in the implementation of this Act. We wrote this article to help educate people on the process to get a REAL ID and the associated requirements.

      That being said, we have no information on who maintains any databases or information about ID theft. This question would be best directed to your state’s license-issuing office (like a DMV, BMV, etc.). We have the links to all of these above.

      Thanks for reading!

  47. Live in Virginia, my driver’s license expires in October 2019. Since I will be getting a new Real ID between now and then, how many years will it be good for until I have to renew again? Thanks!

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 15, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ryan. The REAL ID has the same validity as any license issued by the state.

      According to the Virginia DMV, your license would be good for eight years and will expire on your birthday. However, if you are age 75 or older, your renewed license will be valid for five years. Hope this helps!

  48. Michael Mann · June 17, 2019 · Reply


    Great article. Thank you.

    My kids passports were up for renewal and I chose to get the passport book and card. I’m not one for paying extra money but here is why I did it… Real ID.

    Passport book allows air, land and sea travel between countries. Passbook card allows land and sea between Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and Caribbean.

    The passbook card is a Real Id.

    With a passport book or card a minor can open a savings account. A passbook book or card can be used for SAT identification.

    The passbook card allows the minor to present a airline boarding pass with Photo ID to TSA. Cool for some kids.

    If the passport is lost or stolen overseas, having a passport card rather than a photocopy of your passport may be more beneficial (my opinion only, not confirmed).

    Off topic… my opinion is to carry both overseas.

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 18, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Michael, thank you for the kind words. Glad this article was helpful to you!

      Yes, the passport book is a REAL ID and definitely beneficial to have! Great information about the minor being able to open a savings account with it as well.

      Thanks for reading!

  49. Hi,
    This may be a somewhat unusual request, but I’m a big fan of your website and was somewhat surprised to find this page while doing research on a non-rewards travel topic. As part of a job interview next week, I will be required to give a 10 minute presentation on REAL ID. Do you mind if I use some of your info-graphics on this page during my presentation? I will source you of course. And the presentation will not be made public or used for any commercial purposes. Thanks in advance. Feel free to respond to this comment or directly through email.

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 20, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Iren, thank you for running this by us! Of course, we’d love for you to use our graphics as long as you source us.

      Good luck on your interview and thanks for reading!

  50. Elizabeth · June 25, 2019 · Reply

    Hello, Thanks for that informational article. I did have one question. I will soon travel to Mexico by car from California. I do have a Real ID but do not have a passport. Will I be able to get back into the U.S with only my Real ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 25, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Elizabeth, glad this article was useful for you! You will always need your passport book or card to travel internationally. The REAL ID isn’t a substitute and won’t work for your trip to Mexico.

      A passport card is good for international travel by land and sea and a passport book is good for all types of international travel. If your travel is within the next two weeks, you can go to a local embassy to get an expedited passport. If you have a month or so before your trip, you can apply for an expedited passport via mail.

      We have a whole guide on this here:

      Best of luck and thanks for reading!

  51. Hi,
    If you have a Drivers License from another state, can your Real ID be from a different State? Or do you have to obtain your Real ID from the same state as your Drivers License? This is a relocation issue,

    • Christy Rodriguez · June 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jane, when you move to a new state, you will have to get a new license and at that time, you can choose to get a REAL ID (which is also your driver’s license).

      So to answer your question, no – you can’t have IDs from different states as you will have to surrender your old state’s license when you get your new one.

      Hope this helps.

  52. M. Saavedra · July 1, 2019 · Reply

    I have a close friend with a non-violent past record. They may currently have a warrant, but I’m not positive.
    Would he be allowed to get a REAL ID? For that matter, would any parolee be allowed to get a REAL ID?
    How is a person that has no mail coming to them supposed to show proof of residency?
    Thank you.

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 1, 2019 · Reply

      Hi M. Sounds like there are a few questions here.

      First, you are wondering if your friend can you get a driver’s license (REAL ID) with a past record and potential active warrant. Without knowing more details about the record (was it a DUI, etc), it’s hard to say. However, many people with records can go on to obtain driver’s licenses!

      The CA DMV is NOT a courthouse, so they won’t likely have police hanging around to arrest him if he has a current warrant. That being said, the best thing to do is to check the county websites to see if he has a warrant and then for him to resolve any issues at the local police station first.

      Next, you had a question regarding the proof of residency. There are a number of different types of proof that CA allows that don’t involve a mailing address. For example, court documents or a letter on letterhead from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, nonprofit entity, faith based organization, employer, or government agency within the U.S. attesting that the applicant resides in California.

      See here for more all acceptable documents:

      Thanks for reading and hope this helps!

  53. Mari. · July 1, 2019 · Reply

    Thank you for your quick response. I believe he may have a warrant in another state, but I will check as you suggested.
    As far as I know there are no DUI violations. Would the DMV issue the REAL ID or License?

    Thanks again.

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 1, 2019 · Reply

      Glad to help! There seem to be a lot of factors to consider here (how old the convictions are, if the DMV deems them related to his driving record, etc.)

      Since we aren’t affiliated with the CA DMV, it’s really hard to know for certain if they would grant a REAL ID/license.

      You could always call your local field office directly here:

  54. Denise · July 11, 2019 · Reply

    I renewed my license in January 2019. I have never traveled out of the country and do not plan on doing so. In the top right of my license, it says USA but no star or anything else. I only travel to different states. Are you saying I would have to get a passport to travel now?

    • Hi Denise,

      If your 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 a passport, in order to fly – both domestically and internationally.

  55. James Adam Smith · July 11, 2019 · Reply

    Why would the New Jersey DMV send me a letter stating that my South Carolina Real ID is not valid?

    • Hi James,

      I am afraid I cannot answer that for you. Do you live in South Carolina or New Jersey? If you live in New Jersey I would contact the DMV and ask why you received the letter.

  56. Howard T. · July 12, 2019 · Reply

    I live in Maryland. I have gotten several emails from the “local” MVA. Basically they are telling me, if I DO NOT get a (real ID) I will and could lose the privilege of driving! This doesn’t sound right or fair! I am currently 66, and have NO plans to fly anywhere. The email says that after a certain date and I commit some traffic violation, the cops or police could actually seize my license. My current license shows a a (white) star with a black outline or border. I’m very suspicious of offering up this much info about my person! My question – could the Police seize my license if I don’t supply them with my birth certificate, SS# etc.?

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 16, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Howard. So Maryland is actually in the process of recalling some of their previously-issued IDs. This sounds like what the emails you referenced are talking about.

      Specifically, if you’ve already received a REAL ID (and it sounds like you have one from your description), but haven’t filed your identification and residency documents with the Motor Vehicle Administration, you must do so in the next month or risk having your license recalled. Here’s a link with more information for you:

  57. What about the expiration date on these REAL IDs? Do they (or would they) include any remaining time on the current ID (in case the renewal is done earlier than the expiration date in the current ID? This may be a state basis (would you know about Ohio)?

    • Hi NV,

      The time remaining until the expiration on your current ID will not be counted towards the expiration of your REAL ID.

  58. Hi,

    I feel like you answered similar questions but not exactly.
    If I have a passport, do I need any other form of identification or any other documents to travel domestically and/or internationally? Thank you

  59. Bob Peterson · July 15, 2019 · Reply

    I am confused if my Wisconsin Real ID will allow me to enter Mexico or Canada?

    • Hi Bob,

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

  60. Is it okay to get the Real ID months earlier than renewal date? My renewal is in Jan. 2020, so can I renew this month since there us an opening at DMV?

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 26, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Carol – absolutely! There is no need to wait until your license is about to expire. I would definitely go ahead and take that reservation.

      Thanks for reading.

  61. I live in AR and just got a new license in April. It is not a Real ID. As a surprise, our children are flying my wife and I from TX to CA on Aug 15. Do I have to have a Real ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Glen, you have until Oct. 2020 to obtain your REAL ID, so you will be fine to travel with your license for your August trip. You always have the option to travel with a passport or other TSA-approved ID (listed above in our article). Thanks for reading!

  62. Kayce bison · July 27, 2019 · Reply

    I recently was at the rock island arsenal trying to get on to go see a deceased family member and they turned me away because I did not have a real ID he said that I can’t even use that ID at all except for driving but I have flown with it already I’m not understanding how he can deny me to get on when it’s not even mandatory to have a real ID until October 1st?

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kayce, the REAL ID act has a few phases – one of which is for boarding commercial aircraft. This is the one we’ve addressed in this article. There are other key enforcement dates for visiting federal facilities, nuclear power plants, etc. that do not align with the Oct. 2020 date that you’re referencing. This sounds like the reason you were turned away.

      Sorry that you were turned away though – this sounds like a terrible experience. But he is incorrect – you can still fly with your non-REAL ID through Oct. 2020.

      Be sure to check out more information here for all dates/requirements:

  63. Gary Achenbach · July 29, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I live in Fl. and just got the letter and I do have a gold star in the upper right corner and am compliant. My question is what about a picture and signature that are required when I apply to

    • Christy Rodriguez · July 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Gary, unfortunately we aren’t associated with the Florida DHSMV, not sure how the renewal process works with relation to signatures, etc. I would recommend contacting someone there to confirm how to renew your REAL ID.

      Thanks for reading!

  64. Evern Mosely · July 31, 2019 · Reply

    I went to the DMV for my Real ID in the State of California on Monday. I was told I needed my marriage license to show proof of my name change. Two days, later I go back to the DMV with my marriage license, birth certificate, 2 proofs of residency, social security card and current driver’s license. Only to be told that I could not obtain a REAL ID because my birth last name on my birth certificate ends with a “t” and my marriage license, social security #, current driver’s license, and proof of residence ends all end with a “d”,
    Stewar”t” vs Stewar”d”. The solution per DMV is to do a legal name change on my Birth Certificate or change my SS#, Marriage License, Military ID, Utilities Bills and every other form of documents to “t” instead of a “d”. Not realistic!!

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 1, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Evern, sorry that it’s been such a painful process for you! We aren’t associated with the DMV, so ultimately what they says goes.

      I would like to remind you that a REAL ID isn’t mandatory. Your CA license will be sufficient to fly until Oct. 2020 and you can use your passport (or other TSA-approved forms of ID listed above) past that date.

      Thanks for reading.

  65. Gina Proctor · August 1, 2019 · Reply

    I do not do any of these things that makes ID mandatory. What if I am called for Jury Duty? Can I then use the additional documents you mentioned for that?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 1, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Gina, great question!

      The primary purpose of REAL-ID is to improve safety on flights and secure federal facilities (like nuclear power plants, etc). In terms of driving and accessing state and federal buildings for things like jury duty, there is no difference between a regular driver’s license and a REAL-ID. Hope this helps!

  66. Ben R Woods · August 2, 2019 · Reply

    I have a certified copy of my birth certificate signed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistic in Mississippi state. It states I, Archie Lee Gray, M.D., State Registrar Of vital statistics cover hereby certify this to be true and correct copy of the certificate of birth of the person name here in , the original being on file in this office. Given at Jackson, Mississippi, over my signature and under the official seal of my office, this the XXX date. I was told it needed to be stamped or embossed by the state in order to be valid for Real ID. Is this true?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ben, we are by no means experts on all the ins and outs of legal documents. I will say that there is a difference between informational and official birth certificates – official ones are usually impressed/embossed like you stated. Informational ones are not valid to obtain your REAL ID.

      Sorry I can’t help you determine which version yours is, but I would direct you to your local DMV for the official word (links are above in the article).

      I’ve removed your birth date for your protection as well. Thanks for reading!

  67. Robert Warren · August 7, 2019 · Reply

    I am retired military. Will my retired ID be sufficient to board flights in place of a Real ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 7, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Robert, thanks for your question.

      Yes, since your military ID is federally-issued, this is an acceptable form of ID to board flights! Hope this helps!

  68. Joe Beineke · August 8, 2019 · Reply

    It’s so confusing. If I’m in SC right now (Aug 8 2019), and I have an IN identification card (not Real ID), can I get on a plane? Likewise, if I drive over the border to Charlotte NC, can I do the same? It’s not clear (anywhere) about what your requirements are if you’re boarding with a non-Real ID card from out of state. This is an elderly person’s emergency, so “should have gotten a Real ID by now” comments are not helpful at all.

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Joe – sorry to hear you’re finding this process confusing. Please note that we aren’t affiliated with any state or federal agency – we are Upgraded Points, a website that reports on important travel-related issues like the REAL ID.

      That being said, if you read our article above, you’ll note that the date that the requirements go into effect is on Oct. 1, 2020. You will be able to fly with your current ID up until this point. In addition, you’ll see that it also notes that this applies only to boarding commercial airlines. There is no change regarding IDs for purposes of driving across state borders.

      Hope this helps.

  69. Isander Vega · August 16, 2019 · Reply

    I live in New Jersey and want to take my family to Walt Disney, Florida. Do my two boys age 13 and 15 need passports to take a flight there? or ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 16, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Isander,

      We actually have a section on this above – TSA does not 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, your kids will not need a REAL ID.

      You didn’t ask this part, but for your identification, New Jersey has an extension through October 10, 2019. If you fly before that, you can use your normal state ID. If you fly after, you MAY need to bring another TSA-approved form of ID (listed in the article above) if you don’t have a REAL ID and an additional extension is not granted.

      Thanks for reading!

  70. Dee A Wharton · August 20, 2019 · Reply

    Maybe you can answer my question. I have a Class A license and went to renew it when I found I had to have everything the same as a REAL ID to renew it. So after getting my birth certificate, marriage certificate, and going back and forth doing flips and hoops getting what they asked for, found that when I was a young child, my mother changed my last name with the social security and they are now wanting a document from the social security office. I went there only for them to tell me they do not give out that info, so I basically have no way to prove that my name was changed. I am going to not only lose thousands of dollars that was paid for getting my class A, looks like I am going to lose my class A itself. I have barely got by all my life and finally pulled myself up enough to start this new career and because of this simple easy to see situation am going to lose it all. There has to be some way or someone somewhere that can help me. I am a good hard working citizen that does not deserve this. Social security told me to go back to DMV and talk to them. They want me to voluntarily give up my class A so I can renew my class C, so I walked out of there. It is not that easy. I am in tears.

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 20, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Dee, sorry you’re having trouble with this. This sounds like a very difficult situation for sure. Have you contacted your mom to see if she has any of that documentation?

      It sounds like you’re trying to do two things – renew your Class A license and while you’re at it, get a REAL ID. Since REAL IDs aren’t necessary, it sounds like where you’re running into some roadblocks are with these Class requirements and not necessarily the REAL ID. We’re not experts on the different classes of license, nor the specific state requirements for this. I’m sorry I can’t be more help.

      All of the DMV links are listed above, so I would definitely recommend contacting your local DMV to have them walk you through this. They may have additional resources for you as well to navigate this as well. Best of luck to you!

  71. Kathleen Hawley · August 21, 2019 · Reply

    I loved this very informative article and it answered most of my questions except: Is my Global Entry card validation enough to fly without a Real ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kathleen, thank you! We appreciate the kind words.

      We actually have this listed in the graphic titled “TSA-compliant Forms of ID”. All trusted traveler cards (including Global Entry) are an acceptable form of ID in order to fly. Hope this helps!

      • Brooklyn · November 11, 2019 · Reply

        I live in the USA and currently only have a normal ID card, not a real ID and I’m traveling to Puerto Rico in December. Will this be an issue or will it be ok since it doesn’t go into effect until 2020?

  72. John Crick · August 23, 2019 · Reply

    Thanks for this article. What about US citizens that live and work in countries all over the world? How do they present themselves in person at any DMV office? I’m retired and live in the UK I have dual citizenship US/UK. I had renewed my Virginia DL a year ago with no star on it and since this act was passed in 2005 shouldn’t my DL been issued with a star?

    My wife, on the other hand, is a US Citizen sold her house in Washington DC some 8 years ago and had no other address in the US as she is a UK resident but has a US passport. How would it affect her status? We do travel back to the US to see family from time to time. Be interested in your reply.

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 23, 2019 · Reply

      Hi John, I don’t know how you renewed your DL last year, but in order to obtain a REAL ID you must show up in person at a DMV with all of the documents we’ve listed above. Renewing online isn’t a sufficient method. Also, you have to “opt in” as regular licenses are still offered at the DMVs.

      That being said, a REAL ID is NOT required. You are still able to continue traveling (domestically as well as internationally) with your passport (as well as the other TSA-approved documents listed above).

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say “affect her status”, but the REAL ID act makes no changes to passport requirements, so nothing will have changed for her in this regard.

      Hope this helps!

  73. Patricia McCormick · August 24, 2019 · Reply

    The only document left without my married name is my passport. My maiden name is now part of my middle name. If I show my passport with my maiden name and my Driver’s License with both my maiden name and my married last name, would that be enough? My passport is good for 5 more years and to change my last name I would have to pay the fee as if I wanted to renew my passport. I would rather change my last name on my passport when it expires. Name, Maiden Name, Married last name =Driver’s License vs Name, Maiden name = Passport. Is that enough for them to know it’s me or would they give me a difficult time?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 24, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Patricia, each state is different, so it’s hard to know with absolute certainty. I do believe that this would be acceptable if you also brought your original marriage certificate though. Overall, the best advice we have is to find the contact information listed for your local DMV for them to confirm. Thanks for reading!

  74. Lorie Buchanan · August 25, 2019 · Reply

    I got my Washington State Real ID Enhanced License back in June 2019 but it does not have the gold or black star on it. It does however have a gold tree at the bottom and an America Flag thru the lower right edge of my picture. It was mentioned in the article that Washington was one of the states that seem to be a little different. Is my new “Real ID” actually legitimate?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 25, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Lorie! Yes – an enhanced license is a REAL ID! You will be good to travel with this license now and after Oct. 1, 2020. Thanks for reading!

  75. Michele Hill · August 27, 2019 · Reply

    The TSA website lists Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, Fast and TSA PreCheck as trusted traveler programs, but it is not clear if the TSA pre check can be used instead of the REAL ID for flying domestically.
    Thanks for the great info!
    Additional question – we live in California. My 85 y/o Mother no longer drives but has a current ID card. Does that ID card need to be updated to the Real ID card? She is rather frail and a trip to DMV can prove difficult.
    Thanks again.

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Michele, you don’t receive a physical card when you get TSA PreCheck, so having this isn’t a substitute for the TSA-approved documents listed in the article. All of the other Trusted Traveler Programs provide cards, so these other options are good to use flying domestically.

      For your second question, we have a graphic above “Do I Need a REAL ID?” to decide if a REAL ID is good for you or not, so be sure to check this out. From what you’ve described though, it doesn’t seem like your mother needs to go through the process to update her ID to a REAL ID.

      Thanks for reading!

  76. Michele Hill · August 27, 2019 · Reply

    Me again, referring to my last question about my 85-year-old Mother. If she does not have a Real ID as of October 2020, and no passport or other ID, how does she get on a flight?

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Michele, unfortunately, she will need to obtain either a Real ID, passport, or another form of federal identification (for example, a NEXUS or SENTRI card).

  77. d henderson · August 28, 2019 · Reply

    I have made two trips to my DMV. I have a passport and have gone through all the TSA precheck requirements that request the same documentation along with fingerprinting and background check. The first time at the DMV, I took all my documentation and was told I needed my Social Security Card. So I took that with me the second time. However, i used to carry my SS card and it was in pretty bad shape so I laminated it. They will not accept a laminated card and I was told to go to the SS office and request a new one. So more time and paperwork. However, my sister just happens to have a star on her license, but doesn’t know why or how as it is just there. Apparently when she last renewed her license. But she did not have to provide any additional information. As well, the same thing with my daughter. I have yet to have anyone explain to me how this can happen. If I need all this information to prove I am safe to travel, why did some people just get a star on their license without providing any additional information?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hi d, you didn’t mention which state you or your family members are from, but there are certain states (like Hawaii, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah) that issued licenses with a star, but they may or may not be REAL IDs. In addition, some states (like New Jersey and California) are having to go back and request additional documentation from people that were mistakenly given REAL IDs without all the requirements being met.

      In short, since each state handles its own license process, it’s not always a straight-forward answer. Hope this helps!

  78. I have Real ID from a state I don’t reside in anymore and would like to get an Enhanced ID from my current state. I read that you can only have one Real ID. Does that mean that I will have to stick with the Real ID from the previous state I lived in until it expires, or would I simply turn in the Real ID when I go to the DMV. Or can I keep both forms of ID?

    • Christy Rodriguez · August 29, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jo-Ann – unfortunately each state handles the issuance of IDs separately. You are supposed to change over your ID (whichever you have – an enhanced ID, REAL ID, and regular driver’s license) over to the state where you currently reside, so you will have to go through the same process of going to your local DMV and providing documentation (including your old license) in your new state to get your enhanced license. You cannot have two licenses at a time.

      Hope this helps!

  79. Hi,
    I have a friend who just renewed her CA state ID online last June 2019 and
    got her renewed CA state ID last July 2019 to expire on July 2027. On her card shows as a “senior citizen card” and with “federal limits apply” .
    She is planning to fly in Sept 2019 to New York and back. Can she used this non-compliant ID to travel to New York next month without any hassle?
    She is now aware of the Real ID and plans to go to the DMV after her New York travel. Thanks.

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 1, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Hedsue, the REAL ID travel requirements don’t kick in until Oct. 1, 2020, so your friend would be fine to fly domestically with her ID in September. She won’t run into any issues.

      Hope this helps!

  80. Do you happen to know if either Georgia or South Carolina requires fingerprints in order to obtain a secure ID? Thanks!

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 6, 2019 · Reply

      Hi DJ – neither would require fingerprints. As part of the REAL ID act, states are required to use a biometric process to allow for facial recognition and authentication only.

      Thanks for reading!

  81. I live in Virginia. I pay all my bills online, so I do not have any paper bills. Can I print my most current Dominion power bill as proof of residency?

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Sheila, absolutely! You can print off any recent statement that shows your name and address and this would work as proof of residency. Thanks for reading.

  82. Hello. I am traveling in October 2019 to Washington DC. I don’t have converted my license to a REAL ID yet. Can I still use my regular license to travel? Thank you.

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 14, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ana, the REAL ID requirements don’t go into effect until Oct. 2020, so you can still travel with your regular license until then.

      Thanks for reading!

  83. Great, thorough information in an easy to understand format. Thanks so much!

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 15, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Debi, thanks so much for the kind words. Glad that this article was useful to you!

    • Hope Sparkes · September 18, 2019 · Reply

      Ok this REAL ID is hard for people like me who have to jump through hoops to get an ID. Now we can’t get an ID without a birth certificate and we can’t get birth certificate with out an ID. I have an ID that is outdated but it has my picture. I brought I copy of my lease where I was living and I had a third party who could vouch who I was. I can’t ask my adopted mom because she’s deceased and my adopted father won’t talk to me. So I can’t renew my ID to get a birth certificate. I was born in NJ but my ID is from PA. Does anyone have any idea to help me please? I’m out of ideas of what to do.

      • Christy Rodriguez · September 18, 2019 · Reply

        Hi Hope, I’m so sorry you’re having all of these difficulties getting your birth certificate/REAL ID. We aren’t the experts into the specifics of obtaining birth certificates, but maybe there is a reader that can offer additional advice?

        In addition, we would absolutely recommend talking to someone at your local DMV (we’ve listed the links above to get you started). They deal with this every day and might be able to offer you additional resources.

        Best of luck to you.

  84. Brenda G Evers · September 15, 2019 · Reply

    My license expires in Aug. 2020. Can I go and renew early to get the star in the corner? If not now when can I go renew?

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 15, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Brenda, you can absolutely go renew your license to get a REAL ID at any point! You don’t have to wait until yours is set to expire.

      Thanks for reading!

  85. I’m assuming my retired Military ID card meets the requirements for this?
    Thank you.

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 16, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Douglas, yes – since these IDs are federally-issued, they meet the REAL ID requirements. Thanks for reading!

  86. Hi, I am a foreigner with green card in N.C. and got my Real ID. I would like to make anyone with a green card aware that the expiration date on your Green Card also determines the expiration date of your Real ID. Meaning if your green cards expiration date is 9 month from time of application then your Real IDs expiration will also be 9 month from that date and you would have to renew your Real ID at that time. So get your green card renewed before applying for a Real ID if at all possible.

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ann, thanks so much for sharing your experience. It will definitely help some of our readers that have green cards know more about expiration dates.

  87. MELISSA TRAN · September 20, 2019 · Reply

    I’m a US citizen and am taking a trip to Mexico. I was wondering if I could use the real ID to go and come back.

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Melissa, the REAL ID is not a replacement for a US passport. There are a few states that offer an enhanced ID (Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Washington), so if you are from those states AND have an enhanced ID, you can use this to go to Mexico.

      If not, you will need your passport to travel to Mexico (or any other country).

      Thanks for reading!

  88. We live in Wisconsin and my husband was told by the DMV that he can’t get a Real ID because he spent a month in jail for a DWI. Why is that?

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Rena, we aren’t associated with the DMV, so unfortunately, I don’t know why he was told that. I would advise him to contact the DMV using the numbers provided above as he might talk to someone else who would able to give him more details.

      Please do remember that a REAL ID isn’t necessary – your husband can also use his passport or other TSA-approved forms of ID to fly after Oct. 2020. Thanks!

  89. Hi Christy,
    My wife lost her ID recently and we can’t find her birth cert. She doesn’t have a passport, but she needs to get a new license soon, before her birth state would be able to process her replacement birth cert. Do you know if there are any other documents that would be able to be used in place of the birth cert and passport? She’s a teacher at a public school would any of her employment documents be sufficient in place of the birth cert since she’s a state employee? Thanks in advance for your response.
    – Randy

    • Christy Rodriguez · September 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Randy, I will say that an official birth certificate or passport is usually required for US citizens to get a REAL ID. The employment authorization card that is referenced in our article as another form of “proof of identity” is a document that is provided to authorize an non-citizen to work in the U.S. This isn’t typically given to US citizens.

      Another option would be for her to get a replacement regular ID (not a REAL ID), get her birth certificate, and then apply for a REAL ID later down the road. (This seems like a lot of steps though!)

      Ultimately, we aren’t the DMV, so can’t say with absolute certainty. We’d definitely recommend contacting your local DMV (with the links above) for them to give you the best advice for your wife.

  90. Ted Miller · September 30, 2019 · Reply

    This sucks. My current license is no good, but a green card is? Welcome to second class citizen status, folks.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t even really need a picture ID to get this. People wake up. This will make things EASIER for the bad guys, not harder.

    Meanwhile, I can’t even get a straight answer about how much this will cost.
    Searched just lead me back to the same useless FAQ. I even went down to the DMV and spoke with them there. Still no answer.

    Our government is making more money on birth certificates and passports using tactics like this, as they did when security requirements were tightened to include birth certificates for passports. Did it solve things? If it did, we shouldn’t need this, and if it didn’t, then why are we just repeating what proved to be a failure?

    Money. It’s all about revenue. Put a scare into people and they will jump through any hoop. Politicians know this. It’s their bread and butter.

  91. Charlie · October 1, 2019 · Reply

    One of the main reasons NOT to get a Real ID is if you value your privacy. This should be discussed. Remember, in order to get a Real ID you must provide you SSN card and birth certificate. These documents are scanned into your State’s system and copies are kept on file. Then your Read ID is available by other DMVs to access over a nationwide network. This is nothing short of a national ID card and exposes you to identity theft. THAT’s a good reason not to get a Real ID.

    • Christy Rodriguez · October 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Charlie, we aren’t associated with TSA or DHS, but according to their website “REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.”

      This is consistent with the fact that Real IDs aren’t transferable between states. You must go in person to obtain a new Real ID if you move. Thanks for reading!

  92. Hi, when I got my SS card 50 years ago I put down a middle name even though I don’t have one. My birth certificate only has first & last name. When banks run my ss# it shows a middle name. I went to SS to fix this & they said they don’t use a middle name so its not a problem to them. Will this cause a problem when applying for real id?

    • Christy Rodriguez · October 7, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Joe, as we aren’t associated with DHS, we can’t say for certain. It is always best to contact your local license-issuing office if you want a definitive answer. We have all the links listed above so you can have a good place to start!

  93. Gregory Welch · October 22, 2019 · Reply

    OK , So I have a CDL and have been checked out TOTALLY , Do I still have to TOTALLY upgrade even farther?

    • Greg,

      I’m not sure what you’re asking. Can you clarify? What does it mean to be checked out totally in this context? How about totally upgrade even further? Thanks.

  94. Tom Clancey · October 26, 2019 · Reply

    I carry a European Passport and live between there and the US. I expect that I can use my EU passport to travel within the US right. They can’t discriminate against me with it?

    • Christy Rodriguez · October 26, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Tom, I’m not sure what you mean “discriminate against me with it”, but you are (and will continue to be) able to travel with your EU passport to and from the U.S. as well as within the U.S. without any problems.

  95. Can you clarify why the Real ID is not sufficient enough to cross back over from Mexico, when the docs you need to show proof of residency are a specific requirement to even obtain the REAL ID. I have to show my BC to get the Real ID, AND take a copy with me to cross over? I live in a border town and this is just plain infuriating. Why in the hockey puck isn’t this recognized to walk back and forth across when you have to show the SAME documents to border patrol that you have to show the DMV to obtain the very card that supposed to eliminate that?

    • Christy Rodriguez · October 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Renee, we aren’t associated with the Department of Homeland Security or TSA, so we can’t speak specifically to this. We would recommend reaching out to them directly as we can’t offer much insight.

      I do know that Mexico doesn’t recognize U.S. licenses, so in all cases, an internationally recognized form of identification (such as a passport or passport card) would be required to enter Mexico.

      Thanks for reading!

  96. My Texas drivers license is already REAL ID compliant and I just need to have it renewed. Do I still need to provide my birth certificate?

    • Christy Rodriguez · November 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Margo, no you won’t need to bring your birth certificate. Here is the TX DPS link showing their required documents broken down by section. You will need something from Section 1 & 3 (for example, your existing driver’s license as well as your social security card):

      Hope this helps!

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