The REAL ID Act deadline has been pushed back yet again. But that doesn’t mean you have time to delay. You should still update your ID or carry a valid U.S. Passport to be REAL ID Compliant.
The new deadline is May 07, 2025. Every US air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a compliant ID to fly within the United States. Compliant IDs include a valid passport book or passport card, compliant state-issued ID, enhanced drivers license, certain traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST), US military ID, Permanent resident card, Border crossing card, Tribal photo ID, HSPD-12 PIV card, Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card, and Transportation worker identification credential.
How to Check REAL ID Compliance
REAL ID-compliant documents are marked with a star at the top of the card. Even if your state is now issuing compliant drivers licenses, you need to have the updated REAL ID-compliant ID. DHS is working closely with all states and territories to ensure full compliance by the May 7, 2025 deadline. As of March 26, 2021, 55 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 May 7, 2025 deadline. But that doesn’t mean YOUR current ID is REAL ID compliant.
The REAL ID Act Passport Requirements
What is the REAL ID Act? Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act set standard security requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It also prohibits Federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. Without a REAL ID Act Compliant ID, you cannot do the following:
- Access Federal facilities
- Board federally regulated commercial aircraft
- Enter nuclear power plants
While many states are now compliant, many travelers do not have an updated ID that is compliant. However, your US Passport is a federally-recognized ID and can be used for travel anywhere in America and across the globe. The passport card is only valid for domestic flights, and for travel by land and sea to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. If your destination is outside of the US, you’ll need a passport book.
For more on the differences, see Passports vs Passport Cards.
Enhanced drivers licenses
Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only.
State-issued enhanced driver’s licenses are marked with a flag. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect.
Do you need a passport for domestic flights? No, but you do need a valid ID and your driver’s license may no longer be acceptable. The Real ID Act is in full effect and most states now issue compliant IDs. But that doesn’t mean your current drivers license is valid for domestic air travel. You may need to update your ID or get a passport in order to fly within the USA.
How to Get a Passport
Passport Service Timeframes
|U.S. Post Office|
|Standard||8 weeks||6-9 weeks|
|Expedited||1 week||3-5 weeks|
Current RushMyPassport services are as fast as 1 week.
RushMyPassport can help you prepare the required documents and prevent common mistakes that will delay your passport processing. You’ll also avoid the slow processing times. Get your passport started today! Don’t let the REAL ID Act passport issue cost you an upcoming trip.