Watch this video to find out what Real ID is.

If you’re flying domestically on or after October 1, 2020, you may need a new type of personal identification. This form of ID is known as the Real ID, and it requires more documentation to obtain than a standard driver’s license. Here’s what you need to know:

1. What exactly is Real ID?

Real ID is a new requirement for all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The new standard—stemming from the Real ID Act of 2005—is in place to help improve security by making your identification harder to tamper with.

2. What about my current driver’s license?

Beginning October 1, 2020, your state-issued driver’s license or identification card will no longer meet security standards for domestic flights. You’ll need to upgrade to a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or Real ID card. If you want to keep your current driver’s license (so long as it hasn’t expired), you’ll still need to have a separate Real ID card to fly domestically.

3. Can I use my passport?

Your passport (or passport card) meets security standards for both international and domestic flights. So if your passport is up to date and it’s your preferred identification for air travel, you’re all set.

If your passport has expired (or you don’t have one), we suggest renewing or obtaining one in addition to your Real ID-compliant identification. You can find applications and renewal forms online—and even take your passport photo at a local AAA Branch. Note that a Real ID does not replace a passport used for international travel.

You can also use your permanent resident card or U.S. military ID for air travel. Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) issued by some states—including Michigan and Minnesota—are considered acceptable alternatives to Real ID-compliant cards.

4. How do I know if my identification is already Real ID-compliant?

Look for a star icon in the top-right corner of the card. (The star icon doesn’t appear on most EDLs.) If you’re not sure whether your license is compliant, check with the driver’s license agency in your state.

5. When should I get my Real ID?

The sooner the better—don’t procrastinate. As more people become aware of the requirement, the wait to get one could increase, too.

Have even more questions about Real ID? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has the answers.

Read More

6. Where can I get my Real ID?

Go to your state DMV. Be aware, however, that some states will be issuing only a Real ID-compliant identification card, not a driver’s license. In those states, you’ll need your driver’s license plus the Real ID-compliant identification card when traveling domestically.

To apply for the Real ID, you must appear in person at a DMV office and bring several DMV-accepted documents that verify your identity, U.S. legal residence or citizenship status, and current address. Find more specific information for your state:

7. Will every member of my family need a Real ID?

Only adults, ages 18 and up, will require a Real ID to board a domestic flight. Some airlines do require specific identification for minors, such as a certified birth certificate, in situations where there is no fare or it is discounted.

The rules for international flights haven’t changed: Passports are always required for both minors and adults.

8. What else besides air travel will require a Real ID?

Real ID will be required for everyone visiting a military base, nuclear facility or federal building that requires identification beginning October 1, 2020.

You will not need a Real ID to:

  • Vote or register to vote
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits
  • Operate a motor vehicle
  • Access health- or life-preserving services (including hospitals and clinics)
  • Participate in law enforcement proceedings

Keep reading in: