Update: REAL ID deadline is near

New U.S. standards for air passenger IDs start Jan. 22.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues moving toward its REAL ID deadline, which will affect the kinds of identification U.S. residents can use to board domestic flights. Here’s the latest:

  • As of January 22, 2018, all domestic U.S. air travelers will be required to:
  • show a driver’s license issued by a state that is compliant with the U.S. REAL ID Act or has been granted an extension.
  • OR show an alternative form of acceptable identification (passport, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline- or airport-issued ID and more).
  • Travelers who don’t have an Act-compliant driver’s license or an approved alternative ID will not be allowed to board their flights and will face a significant travel disruption.
  • More than half of U.S. states now are compliant with the Act. The rest have received a temporary extension, but many of these extensions are set to expire well before January 2018.
  • Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every U.S. resident will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel.
  • Learn more by reading the Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID frequently asked questions.

The REAL ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress following a post-9/11 evaluation of security measures. For a state-issued driver’s license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant, the state issuing it must take steps to increase security, such as incorporating anti-counterfeit technology into the card; verifying the applicant’s identity; and conducting background checks on employees involved in issuing driver’s licenses.