Q: What is REAL ID?
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. These purposes are:
- Accessing Federal facilities
- Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft
- Entering nuclear power plants
Q: When will REAL ID be enforced?
The final enforcement deadline is October 1, 2020. By this date, not only must all states be issuing Real ID-compliant licenses or IDs, but individuals must also have visited their state’s driver’s licensing agency and obtained a REAL ID compliant card, or acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport, if they wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities.
Q: What happens on October 1, 2020?
Federal agencies, including DHS and TSA, may only accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as identification for purposes of accessing federal facilities – including TSA airport security checkpoints – if the license or card was issued by a REAL ID compliant state in accordance with the REAL ID security standards (meaning the license or card must include the REAL ID compliant star marking). Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDL) issued by Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont are considered acceptable alternatives to REAL ID-compliant cards and will also be accepted for official REAL ID purposes. Most EDLs do not contain the star marking and this is acceptable.
Q: Are all states issuing REAL ID compliant cards?
DHS is working closely with all states and territories to provide assistance and guidance to achieve full compliance by the October 1, 2020 deadline. As of September 5, 2019, 50 states and territories are fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements, and all states are on track to begin issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the October 1, 2020 deadline.
Q: How do I get a REAL ID?
Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status.
States may impose additional requirements, so check with your state’s driver’s licensing agency website, before visiting them in person, for additional guidance and assistance.
Q: How do I know if my license or identification card is REAL ID compliant?
REAL ID-compliant cards will have of one of the following markings on the upper top portion of the card. If the card does not have one of these markings, it is not REAL ID-compliant and won’t be accepted as proof of identity in order to board commercial aircraft.
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