Before we get into the Real ID act, it’s important to know that both the U.S. passport card and passport book are REAL ID compliant. Check out the full list of all valid identifications that will work at airport checkpoint in order to travel.

The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 and 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.” Establishing minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses, identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

The law requires state-issued driver’s licenses to have certain security features in order to serve as valid forms of ID at airport security checkpoints. 

For anyone applying for a passport for the first time must do so in person. You can download the forms before you go in, but fees are $110 plus $25 for handling on the State Department’s website.

If children are under the age of 18, TSA doesn’t require they provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion must have the proper identification.

REAL ID does NOT apply to the following either:

  • Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • 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 investigations

Travelers can check DHS’s REAL ID webpage at any time to learn if your state is compliant and can check with your state’s agency that issues driver’s licenses about how to acquire a compliant license. The earlier your state becomes compliant, the more likely you will be able to acquire a compliant license as part of the normal renewal cycle. DHS continually updates this list as more states come into compliance or obtain extensions.  

When will the REAL ID change how you travel domestically?

Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. If a traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint. TSA’s full list of acceptable forms of identification. Passengers who have licenses issued by a state that is compliant or that has an extension to become compliant with REAL ID requirements may continue to use their licenses as usual. Make sure you stay up to date on the states already in compliance or with an extension at the DHS’s REAL ID webpage

Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need to present a REAL ID compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel.   

Check to see what your state stands. Will you be prepared to travel?

For more information about passports and other travel documents needed make sure to check out: Time to Apply for Your Passport NOW; New Its Easy Passport App Makes Renewals a Breeze; and Travel Documents- What You Need to Know

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Robert Orloski
What to expect with the REAL ID Act
Article Name
What to expect with the REAL ID Act
REAL ID requires state-issued driver's licenses to have certain security features in order to serve as valid forms of ID at airport security checkpoints. 
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Sundance Vacations
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