Here is Why You Need to Acquire Real ID to Fly

Do you need a real id to fly but want to know why you need to acquire it?

You’ve come to the right article, in this one, we will be looking at why you need real ID and everything you need to know about real ID.

Before we move into the main topic, let’s look at the basics.



What is Real ID?

Real ID is a set of standards for state-issued identification cards and driver’s licenses. It was enacted by Congress in 2005 as part of the REAL ID Act, which aimed to prevent identity fraud and terrorism by establishing minimum security standards for these documents.

Real ID-compliant licenses are intended to be more difficult to obtain than standard licenses.

The requirement to fly is part of this Act, which was passed in 2005 to increase national security in the aftermath of September 11.

During the attacks, nearly all of the hijackers obtained US licenses fraudulently or by using fraudulent documents. To close this loophole, the law is intended to tighten national standards.

You may already have this ID because many states have been using them for years. Since 2012, most Colorado driver’s licenses have been Real-ID compliant.

Simply look at your current driver’s license to see if you already have one. If your ID has a star in the upper right corner, it is Real ID-compliant.


Why You Need to Acquire a Real ID to Fly

To board a domestic flight or access certain federal facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants, you must have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card.

This is because Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005, which established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. These standards are intended to aid in the prevention of identity fraud and terrorism by making these documents more difficult to forge or tamper with.

If you do not have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, you may be required to show another form of acceptable identification, such as a passport, to board a domestic flight or gain access to certain federal facilities.


How to Get it

To get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, you will need to visit your state’s motor vehicle department and bring certain documents with you.

These documents typically include proof of your identity, such as:

  1. A birth certificate or passport
  2. Proof of your Social Security number,
  3. Proof of your address, such as a utility bill or bank statement

To obtain a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, you may also need to have your photo taken and pay a fee. Specific documents and requirements vary by state, so check with your local motor vehicle department for more information. Contact information for your state’s motor vehicle department is usually available on the department’s website.

In most states, a real ID is no more expensive than a license. However, some states charge a fee.

There is an additional, one-time fee of $30 in Pennsylvania, for example.

Additional cost information can be found on your state’s DMV website.


Do You Need A Real Id To Fly?

In some countries, you don’t need to for now, as in the U.S., the deadline for the Real ID has been extended to three years from now.

Beginning May 7, 2025, all United States travelers aged 18 and up will be required to present a driver’s license that is Real ID compliant when passing through airport security.

Children traveling within the United States with an adult do not need to provide identification.

If you do not have a compliant ID by that date, you must fly within the United States using another acceptable form of identification, such as a valid passport, permanent resident card, or Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler program cards, such as Global Entry or Nexus.


What are the Requirements of Real ID?

Each state issues driver’s licenses and identification cards on its own, and each state has its own Real ID requirements. As a result, the requirements differ slightly from one state to the next. However, the documentation required is the main difference between applying for and receiving a Real ID-compliant license versus a non-compliant one.

To obtain a Real ID in California, for example, you must make an appointment at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office (you cannot obtain a Real ID online), provide an identifying document such as a passport or birth certificate, proof of your Social Security number such as a Social Security card or a W-2 form, and proof of California residency, as specified on the Real ID explainer portal on the California DMV website.

The state of New York provides a convenient Real ID answer tool that assists users in determining whether they should obtain a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or a standard driver’s license, as well as the various processes required to obtain either.

Each state has a similar explainer, and a quick online search for your state and “Real ID” should get you all the information you need.


Reaching this part of the article means you’ve gone through everything you need to know about Real ID. Not every country has the Real ID Act, but if yours has and the deadline for applying is near, please apply as soon as possible.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do you need a real ID to fly to Hawaii in 2022?

You only need a valid government photo ID to fly to Hawaii from within the United States. The TSA website has a list of accepted forms of identification.

Can I still fly in the US without a REAL ID?

For now, you can’t.

To fly within the United States beginning May 7, 2025, all passengers must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID.

How much is the REAL ID in Virginia?

REAL ID credentials are available for a one-time fee of $10, in addition to the standard fees for a driver’s license or identification card. A standard driver’s license renewal, for example, costs $32, while a standard driver’s license replacement costs $20.

What is the deadline for the REAL ID in Virginia?

Beginning May 3, 2023, your driver’s license or ID must have the REAL ID gold star if you want to board a commercial airplane or visit secure federal facilities like military bases, nuclear sites, federal courthouses, and federal prisons. Obtaining a REAL ID is entirely voluntary.

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