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When you’re heading to the airport for your next flight, do you worry about Real ID requirements? You might have heard a lot of talk about these requirements, since they’ll be going into effect in a couple of years. Find out more about what they are and what they mean for air travelers in the U.S.


What Exactly Is a Real ID?

Real ID refers to the Real ID Act that Congress enacted in 2005 to lower the risk of ID fraud and make driver’s licenses more secure overall. Over the years, each state has worked toward being in compliance with the requirements of this act. Some states are fully in compliance at this point, while others have been granted extensions.


As of July 2018, most states are compliant. States that currently have extensions through October 2018 include the following:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington


U.S. territories Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands all currently have extensions through October 2018. American Samoa is currently not in compliance and does not have an extension. U.S. residents from American Samoa need to show two forms of ID, such as a birth certificate and Social Security card, along with their driver’s license.


When Do I Need Real ID for Flying?

Beginning on Oct. 1, 2020, U.S. residents who are flying will need to have a Real ID compliant driver’s license or non-driver state ID to present at airport security for all domestic flights. Until then, you are able to continue using your current driver’s license, as long as your state is either in compliance or has received an extension. As of July 2018, all U.S. states are either compliant or have an extension that expires in October 2018. The states that have an extension will have to request another one from the Department of Homeland Security if they still need more time.


Do I Need to Bring Other Forms of ID to the Airport?

If your state is in compliance or under an extension, all you need is a valid driver’s license until Oct. 1, 2020 for airport security. If your state has not been granted an extension or if you don’t have a Real ID by Oct. 1, 2020, you will need to have another form of ID with you, such as a valid U.S. passport, in order to go through security and board your flight. If you do not have another form of ID with you, TSA will not allow you through security.


Do Children Need a Real ID to Fly?

Children will not need to have a Real ID compliant card in order to fly on or after Oct. 1, 2020. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t require minors under 18 to have ID while flying, and the Real ID Act doesn’t change or affect this. 


If you don’t have a Real ID yet, you still have time to get one at your local DMV. Keep in mind that you need to present documentation to prove who you are and that you’re a resident of your state, even if you’ve already gone through this process to get your regular driver’s license. Contact your local DMV for a list of required documents.

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