Contentious REALID Will Be Required For Domestic Flights By May 2025

( — The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that domestic air travelers have less than a year to obtain REAL ID-compliant identification before the new policy takes effect on May 7, 2025, 20 years after the REAL ID Act was first introduced.

Starting on that date, air travelers will not be able to board any domestic flight, nor will they be able to access some federal facilities or gain entry into a nuclear power plant unless their state-issued driver’s license or other form of ID includes the REAL ID star marking in the top right corner, according to DHS.

The REAL ID Act was introduced to tighten security for domestic air travel in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and was initially scheduled to take effect in 2008.

Since then, the deadline to require REAL ID compliance has been delayed repeatedly, most recently in December 2022, when the deadline was pushed to May 7, 2025, with Homeland Security citing the “lingering effects” of the pandemic as part of the reason for the delay.

Once REAL ID compliance takes effect, air travelers will no longer be able to use an ordinary driver’s license to board a domestic flight. Those who attempt to do so once REAL ID is required won’t even be able to make it past security.

At the same time, air travelers without REAL ID-compliant documentation will still be able to clear security and board a domestic flight if they present a valid US passport.

Starting on May 7, 2025, air travelers without REAL ID will be unable to clear airport security unless they show a US passport or an Enhanced Driver’s License.

States using Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are Michigan, Minnesota, New York Washington, and Vermont.

There are other forms of valid ID, which can be found online at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website.

Domestic air travelers can obtain a REAL ID at the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Homeland Security provides a map online with links to each of the DMV locations where air travelers can set up an appointment to sign up for REAL ID.

According to Homeland Security, those applying for a REAL ID must present documentation with their full legal name, date of birth, lawful status, and two documents showing their current address.

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