In 2024, U.S. travelers will not need a REAL ID for domestic flights, but the requirement is looming with a new deadline set for May 7, 2025. Here’s what travelers need to know about the upcoming changes.
What is a REAL ID?
A REAL ID is a driver’s license or state ID card marked with a star. This star indicates that the ID meets the minimum security standards set by the federal government, a measure introduced following the 9/11 attacks. Without a REAL ID by May 7, 2025, individuals will be unable to fly domestically, access certain federal facilities, or enter nuclear power plants.
When do I need a REAL ID?
Initially, the deadline was May 3, 2023, but it was extended to May 7, 2025. However, REAL ID-compliant documents are already required for entry into some federal facilities. Post-deadline, everyone over 18 will need a REAL ID for domestic air travel.
How to identify a REAL ID?
REAL IDs generally have a star in the upper right-hand corner. The star’s appearance varies by state, ranging from black or gold stars to cutout stars or specific designs like a bear in California. If your ID lacks a star, it’s still valid for flying until the 2025 deadline. After that, alternative forms like passports or military IDs will be necessary.
How to get a REAL ID?
Many states have already been issuing REAL IDs. If you’ve recently renewed your license, it’s likely compliant. Check the upper right-hand corner of your license for the star. If you don’t have a REAL ID, contact your local DMV for details on obtaining one.
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