The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Enforced in phases, the final phase of implementation, targeting air travel, began in January 2018.
Most states are already compliant or have received an extension; however, all states need to be compliant by October 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, every U.S. resident will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.
Airline passengers with a driver's license issued by a state that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. Passengers with driver's licenses issued by a state that is compliant (or a state that has been granted an extension) will still be able to use their driver's licenses or identification cards.
In most cases, an identification card that is REAL ID compliant will feature a gold or black star towards the top of the card. This symbol indicates the card meets the requirements and will be accepted at airports and other designated federal facilities nationwide after October 1, 2020.
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