Americans Will Soon Need a REAL ID To Fly Domestically

The clock is ticking, and Americans looking to fly domestically after May 3, 2023, will be required to use a REAL ID or passport.

The clock is ticking, and Americans looking to fly domestically after May 3, 2023, will be required to use a REAL ID, enhanced ID, military ID, or passport. That means you will not be able to board a federally regulated domestic flight with a standard driver’s license or identification card after that date. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is the REAL ID Act?

The REAL ID Act is a law that was passed in 2005 in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. The law sets standards for how identification should be authenticated and issued, intending to make it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to obtain fake IDs. Under the law, federal agencies are required to verify the identity of anyone who wants to access certain benefits or services, such as boarding an airplane or entering a federal building. 

The Act rolled out in phases as the federal government worked with each state to ensure they had the resources to enforce the law. Once fully enacted, standard state-issued IDs would no longer be accepted to board commercial flights or federal access facilities.

Why Some People Oppose Real IDs

The act sets standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, making them more difficult to counterfeit. However, some people oppose the REAL ID Act because it violates their privacy rights. They argue that the act requires states to collect too much personal information, such as Social Security numbers and birth dates, which could be used to track people’s movements and activities. 

In addition, they argue that the act would create a national database of information that could be hacked or accessed by government officials without a warrant. While the REAL ID Act has some potential privacy concerns, many believe that the benefits of having more secure identification cards outweigh the risks.

Am I Required To Get a REAL ID?

Currently, no state requires you to get a REAL ID. However, If you are planning to fly domestically or access certain federal facilities, you will need a REAL ID-compliant card. REAL ID cards are marked with a star and can be obtained from your state’s driver’s license agency. If you do not have a REAL ID card, you will need to show an alternative form of identification, such as a passport. However, you do not need a REAL ID card if you do not plan to fly or access any federal facilities. 

How Do I Get a REAL ID?

To get a REAL ID, you must bring specific documentation to your local DMV office. This includes proof of identity, proof of social security number, and proof of residency. Most people can use their passports or birth certificates as proof of identity. Once you have gathered all the required documentation, you can make an appointment at your local DMV office to apply for a REAL ID.

Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a REAL ID. Visit your state’s DMV website for more information.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Final Thoughts

The REAL ID Act is a set of standards for issuing driver’s licenses and other identification cards. The REAL ID Act requires that states verify the identity of anyone who applies for a driver’s license or ID card. States must also verify the Social Security number of each applicant, and they must keep records of all issued licenses and ID cards. In addition, the law requires that drivers’ licenses and ID cards be tamper-resistant and contain certain security features. 

The REAL ID Act has been controversial, with some people arguing that it violates privacy rights and creates an unnecessary burden on states. However, proponents of the law argue that it is a necessary step to ensure safety and security.

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Americans Will Soon Need a REAL ID To Fly Domestically
Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel better.