Starting on May 7, 2025 all U.S. citizens wishing to fly domestically and access certain federal facilities must have a driver’s license or identification card designated as a Real ID.
The federal Real ID Act requires that you provide proof of identity in the form of a Social Security card, a W2, a 1099, 1098 or pay stub showing a social security number when applying. You must also show your U.S. birth certificate, or naturalization certificate. To apply you are required to visit your local DMV.
You may already have an enhanced license or identification card which does allow you to board domestic flights. However, these IDs are different, you can tell them apart from a few small details. An enhanced ID has an American flag in the bottom right corner and reads “enhanced” at the top. A Real ID will have a star in the upper right corner. An enhanced ID also allows you to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 to enact the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” It established “minimum security standards for license issuance and production” and ensures that IDs accepted by federal agencies meet these standards.
It’s important to know that these IDs are not mandatory, but they are important if you want to make travel easier and get access
To find out more about Real ID click here.