How to get a Real ID

How to Get a Real ID License or Card

In January 3, 2018

If you’re just looking into the REAL ID Act, you’ll learn it’s been a work in progress over the last decade and is set to be put in motion by January 22, 2018. Passed by congress in 2005, the Act’s intention is to set minimum security requirements and standards for state-issued licenses and ID cards. The act also prohibits the use of licenses from states that do not comply with REAL ID act compliance for federal security admittance and other official purposes. Knowing where your state stands on compliance with the Real ID regulations is the first step in obtaining a Real ID license or card. You can learn more about whether your state is compliant by visiting the Department of Homeland Security page here. If your state is not compliant but has been granted an extension, check our up-to-date page here.  Once you’ve determined if your state meets Real ID requirements and you’re ready to make your next move on obtaining a valid Real ID license or card, we’ve got some helpful information on how to get a Real ID form of identification below. Remember, if you’re state is not compliant by January 22nd of 2018 and has not been granted an extension by the federal government, you will be unable to use your regular state-issued license or ID card to gain entry at TSA checkpoints. That means you’ll need another federally issued form of identification to board a plane, both for international and domestic flights.

Do I have to get a Real ID?

The status of compliance in the state in which you reside will determine the date you’ll be able to obtain a Real ID license or card. Be sure to check the status of your state to learn whether you can update your ID card as soon as it expires or whether you will need to hold off. There is no need to rush to the DMV and update your license if you’re from a compliant state since your regular form of ID will suffice for TSA checkpoint use until Oct 1, 2021. Upgrading to a Real ID is not mandatory.  Even in states that have aligned their security standards with the REAL ID Act, residents can choose to opt out and continue carrying a regular license or card. However, they will need a passport or other federally issued form of identification to board flights or enter federal properties. Residents who reside in states that are not compliant and have not been granted an extension must have an alternative form of identification for TSA checkpoints by January 22nd, 2018.

How to get a Real ID card or license FAQ:

  • Where do I get a Real ID? – Just like a normal license or card, you’ll head to your local DMV to apply for a Real ID.
  • Will obtaining a Real ID cost more than a normal license or ID card? – The simple answer is yes, expect at least a minimal charge over what you might pay for your license or ID card. You’ll need to check with your local DMV to learn the cost and fees associated with obtaining a Real ID.
  • What forms of documentation will I need to obtain a Real ID? – When applying for a Real ID, residents will be required to provide one document for proof of identity, one document for proof of social security number, and two documents for proof of state residency. The following documents can be used as proof of these requirements:
    • Proof of Identity
    • Proof of Social Security Number
      • Social Security Card (not laminated!)
      • W-2 – issued from employer
      • 1099 – issued from contracted work
      • Check stub from employer that contains your social security number
    • Proof of residency
      • Utility bill
      • Bank or financial statement
      • Check stub from employer
      • Mortgage or residential rental receipt
how do I get a real ID

You’ll need to provide proof of identity, social security number and 2 documents to prove residency to obtain a Real ID

  • Are minors required to have Real IDs? – TSA does not require children under 18 to carry a Real ID when flying with an adult who has obtained their Real ID.
  • If my state is not compliant, what forms of alternative identification can I use for TSA checkpoints? – While passports and passport cards are the most secure form of identification, TSA has issued a list of acceptable forms of secure IDs individuals may use to enter TSA checkpoints here.

Will my new Real ID card look different than a normal ID or License?

If you’ve chosen to obtain a Real ID vs a standard license or ID card, you’ll learn there isn’t a huge difference in how it looks. Your Real ID will have a gold star – this signifies that you’ve taken the extra steps to ensure a more secure form of identification.

Hopefully we’ve answered a few of your most urgent questions on how to get a Real ID, and some of the requirements in place to help you obtain it as smoothly as possible. Regardless the route you choose, be sure you have the correct documentation and secure forms of ID if you’re planning on traveling domestically on January 22nd!

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