Get Ready for REAL ID: A Must-Have for Domestic Travel by May 2025

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 12, 2024 04:30 AMNews
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Miniature figures on a passport with travel stamps and visas, depicting travelers with luggage
Miniature figures on a passport with travel stamps and visas, depicting travelers with luggage. Source: unsplash

Starting May 7, 2025, travelers planning to fly within the United States will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification. This requirement is part of the REAL ID Act enforced by the Department of Homeland Security to enhance security measures.

Currently, to pass through TSA checkpoints using a driver’s license, it must be REAL ID-compliant. The upcoming deadline makes it crucial for travelers to check their state’s compliance and ensure their IDs are updated.

From May 2025, accessing federal facilities and boarding domestic flights will strictly require a REAL ID. The act, established in 2005, aims to standardize the security features of state-issued IDs. States like Oregon are still in the process of rolling out compliant licenses, while others have adopted recognizable markers like a gold star to indicate compliance.

For those less inclined to update their driver’s licenses, alternative forms of identification, such as a U.S. passport or military ID, remain valid for air travel. However, updating to a REAL ID can streamline the travel process, particularly for those who frequently fly domestically and prefer using their driver’s license as their primary ID.

The transition to REAL ID involves several steps, including providing additional documentation and potentially making an appointment, which varies by state. With the deadline approaching and expected increases in demand, early application is advisable to avoid last-minute rushes and long wait times.

In essence, preparing for REAL ID is not just about compliance but ensuring a smooth and hassle-free travel experience come May 2025. For further information, travelers should consult their state’s motor vehicle department or the official REAL ID website to understand the specific requirements and timelines.

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