If you’ve been to the airport lately, you’ve probably seen signs letting you know that you will need to get a REAL ID if you want to fly in 2020. In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which set new security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Previously, each state had its own requirements. Now, you will have to show the same identification documents no matter which state you apply for a driver’s license. Starting May 7th, 2025, you will need a REAL ID if you want to fly domestically.
Check the last update about Real ID deadline here.
How do I get a REAL ID?
First, you need to make sure that you don’t already have one. Some states have already been issuing REAL IDs for a few years. Unfortunately, the REAL ID looks different in each state. In most states, a REAL ID will have a black or gold star on the front, usually in the top corner. Many non-compliant driver’s licenses will also say something along the lines of “Federal Limits Apply” or “Not for Federal Identification.” However, these guidelines are not applicable for all states. So, to be safe, you should look up what your state’s REAL ID looks like and compare it to your current identification card or driver’s license.
If you’ve determined that your identification is not compliant, you will need to get a REAL ID if you are planning to fly after May 7th, 2025. Even if your current card has not expired, you will still need to go to a DMV office and get your new card in person. You will not be able to apply online.
What paperwork do I need to get a REAL ID?
When you go to the DMV to get a REAL ID, you will need to bring the right identification documents. You must bring a valid form of identification, which can be a:
- Certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate
- U.S. passport
- Permanent resident card
- Employment authorization document
- Foreign passport with an approved form I-94
You will also need to provide proof of your Social Security number. If you don’t have your Social Security card, you can bring a W-2 or paystub that shows your full Social Security number. If your REAL ID has a different name, you will also need a certified copy or original marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order proving your name change. Finally, you must show proof of residency. This can be a mortgage or utility bill, rental agreement, or a school, medical, or employment document showing your address.
How much does it cost to get a REAL ID?
The fee for a REAL ID varies quite a bit by state. It can cost you anywhere from $10 to $80, depending on where you live. However, most states fall in the $20-30 range. If you would like to know the exact cost before you apply, you can visit your state’s DMV website for more details.
Do I need a REAL ID?
You don’t absolutely need a REAL ID, even if you are planning to fly. However, it will make things easier. If you want to fly without a REAL ID, you will need to show your passport or another form of identification accepted by TSA. You can visit the TSA website for a full list of acceptable identification documents. But, you will need a REAL ID to visit any secure federal facilities, such as military bases.
If you are not scheduled to fly, you don’t need a REAL ID. Your current driver’s license will still be valid for other identification purposes. You can still use it to do things like drive and vote. Minors under 18 do not need a REAL ID, even to fly.
Which states require a REAL ID to fly?
So far, the REAL ID Act is set to go into effect on May 7th, 2025, in nearly every state. The exceptions are Oklahoma, Oregon, and New Jersey. However, these states are currently under review and/or have received extensions. So, they will eventually require REAL IDs as well.
What if I don’t have the necessary documents?
If you don’t have the right forms of ID on hand, you’re not alone. Many people do not have a passport or a certified copy of their birth certificate. However, we’re here to help. We make it quick and easy to get a certified copy of your birth certificate. All you have to do is fill out a short application; then, we’ll take it from there. Our experts will make sure that your application is filled out correctly and let you know exactly which forms of ID you will need to provide. No standing in line, no confusing paperwork, and no hassle. Click here to start your application and get a certified copy of your birth certificate, so you can be REAL ID compliant.