Do you need a real id to fly
Cropped shot of a handsome young male traffic officer checking a license at a roadblock

American citizens above the age of 18 will need a domestic flight ticket that complies with Real ID starting on May 3, 2023.

It will no longer be possible to board aircraft using a basic state ID or driver’s license that is not the new security-enhanced form of identification. If you don’t have a driver’s license that complies with Real ID, you can still travel within the country using a passport or Green Card.

The requirement has been postponed from its original start date of 2008 due to a number of factors, notably the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only around 43% of state-issued licenses are Real ID-compliant, according to a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security in April, because government offices have been working at a slower rate during the past three years.

You may need to pay a higher charge and provide a little more documentation than you would for a standard license in order to obtain one.

Here is information on Real IDs and how to obtain one before the deadline.


Do You Need a Real ID to Fly?

Real ID-compliant licenses are a little more challenging to acquire than regular licenses.

The Real ID Act, a law passed in 2005 to bolster national security following September 11, includes the requirement to fly.

Almost all of the hijackers involved in the attacks obtained their US licenses illegally or through forged paperwork. To close this gap, the law is intended to tighten up national standards.

Since several states have been issuing Real IDs for years, you might already have one. For instance, since 2012, the majority of Colorado driver’s licenses have complied with Real-ID standards.

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Just take a look at your current license to see whether you already have one. Your ID complies with Real ID standards if it has a star in the top right corner.

How to Get a REAL ID

A REAL ID won’t typically be a distinct identification card from a person’s driver’s license. However, the TSA will recognize both REAL IDs and improved driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID in Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York.

Additionally, to ensure REAL ID compliance with all 50 states’ driver’s licenses, the Department of Homeland Security is collaborating with them. Even if your license isn’t officially due for renewal, the problem is making sure you obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license before the deadline.

A second trip to the DMV may be necessary for residents of some jurisdictions, such as California, in order to obtain a driver’s license that complies with REAL ID.

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What Does a REAL ID Look Like?

Cards that comply with REAL ID are identified by a star at the top. If you’re unsure whether your ID complies, get in touch with your state’s licensing authority to learn how to get a REAL ID-compliant card.

Additionally, improved driver’s licenses issued by the state bear a flag. As soon as REAL ID enforcement begins, these documents will be accepted at airport security.

How to Get a REAL ID

Real ID Alternatives You Can Fly With

You’re not completely out of luck if you misplace or lose your REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identity card. It’s also permissible to use the following ID types:

  • American passport
  • American passport card
  • Trustworthy traveler cards from DHS (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • IDs issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, including those given to dependents.
  • Card for permanent residence.
  • Card for border crossing
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Tribal picture ID with federal recognition >HSPD-12 PIV card.
  • Foreign passport granted by the government.
  • A provincial driver’s license from Canada or a card from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Identification card for transportation of employees.
  • The Employment Authorization Card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (I-766)
  • Credential for U.S. Merchant Marine.
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What Will Happen if a Person Shows up for a Flight with a Regular ID?

No one will be permitted to board an aircraft without a Real ID or an acceptable form of identification, such as a passport or military ID, not even travelers with TSA PreCheck. If a passenger arrives after the cutoff time with just an ordinary driver’s license, TSA won’t let them, board.

Officials from the airport are concerned that travelers will show up for their flight without a Real ID or the appropriate documentation. According to Frank Miller, executive director of the Hollywood Burbank Airport, a person may have undergone “more enhanced, highly intrusive type of screening” in the past to confirm their identification. This will no longer be permitted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still fly in the US without a REAL ID?

Flying inside the United States will require the presentation of a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or other approved forms of identification starting on May 7, 2025. Examine the full list of recognized IDs.

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Do You Have to be Vaccinated to Fly on a Plane?

Unless you meet the criteria for the exclusion, you will not be allowed to board your flight to the United States if you do not meet the standards to be considered completely immunized.

Can I fly without a REAL ID OK?

You do not need to obtain a license or identification card that complies with REAL ID in Oklahoma, but you will need one if you want to fly domestically or visit military bases or government buildings after May 3, 2023.

Does it cost extra to get a Real ID?

A Real ID won’t often cost more than a license in most states. However, some states levies a cost.

For instance, Pennsylvania charges an extra $30 one-time cost.



Before asking, do you need a real id to fly? Just have it at the back of your mind that very soon air travelers in the US will not travel except they have their real ID. Ensure you get yours with the DMV to avoid late minute disappointment.



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