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What is the REAL ID ACT?

With all of the changes as of late with license and passport requirements, there seems to be a fair bit of confusion about what is allowed and when. 
The REAL ID ACT puts into play a federal directive which applies to all state driver’s licenses and ID cards. This mandate places the United States in the company of nearly 100 other countries in the world, including majority of European countries, that already have some form of national ID card. Once the REAL ID ACT is fully implemented, residents without the new mandated ID will be barred from boarding both domestic and international flights, entering nuclear facilities, or performing any other action that would require official federal identification.
Again,and most important for travelers, starting January 22, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license or ID issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID ACT and has not been granted an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification such as a passport for domestic air travel to board their flight. 

How are state IDs affected by the REAL ID ACT

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set forth new set of standard requirements for all state issued IDs. Each ID must contain the following information to comply:

  • Full legal name
  • Current residential address
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Driver’s license/identification card number
  • Digital passport style photograph
  • Signature

All state issued driver’s licenses and IDs must now also have:

  • Bar code and security devices to help prevent tampering and counterfeiting of the card
  • A star in the upper right-hand corner signifying that the identification has been approved by the TSA and that your identity has been verified.

There are also new requirements put in place to obtain an ID or license. When applying for state issued identification, all applicants must present;:

  • A photo ID or non-photo ID that contains the applicant’s full legal name and date of birth
  • Valid birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of legal U.S. citizenship
    OR
    proof of lawful admittance into or temporary residence within the U.S.

Each state must also give complete access to its database of licensed citizens and drivers to all other states.This shared information includes each individuals name, address, date of birth, driving record and driving history.

I’m not sure if my state is in compliance with the REAL ID ACT. What should I do?

If your tired of worrying about the state ID issue, the easiest thing you can do overall is just apply for or renew your US passport. This State Department Passport Agency issued document takes all the wondering and worry out of the equation. See our expedited passport pages for a list of passport application options including New First Time Passports, Passport Renewal, & Passports for Children.

If instead you would like information on your states REAL ID ACT compliance, extension, or implementation status, you can contact your state officials or visit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) webpage on State Issued Identification.