A year ahead of the REAL ID rollout, which is now expected to take effect on May 3, 2023, DMV officials across the country are warning travelers and those who may need to enter certain federal buildings to start preparing now to secure the enhanced ID. A traveler may use a valid and current US Passport or other federally approved ID in lieu of the REAL ID (but not vice versa—you will still need a valid US Passport to travel internationally).
The REAL ID was delayed several times due to the pandemic, but is currently scheduled to take effect in May 2023. Certain states and ID-issuing agencies have additional requirements beyond the traditional driver’s license paperwork, and officials note that it could cause a delay in obtaining the updated ID without it. In most cases, the REAL ID must be issued in person, which means a trip to the DMV and a little bit of legwork—especially if you need extra time to locate the proper and official documents. REAL ID is denoted by a star in the upper right-hand corner of the ID.
The Department of Homeland Security has a website that can help you determine the requirements for your state, which you can visit here.
With the deadline looming, the US Travel Association (USTA) is imploring DHS to delay the implementation again, citing a lack of readiness by US citizens and the agencies issuing the IDs.
“US Travel supports the US Department of Homeland Security’s push to educate individuals on the need to acquire a REAL ID, but we also recognize that the pandemic created a significant hurdle to the widespread adoption of REAL ID. As we look ahead to next year’s deadline, it is clear that Americans will not be ready for full implementation,” said USTA Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “We are calling on DHS to delay implementation or develop an alternative screening process for travelers with a legacy ID to ensure that air travelers and the industry’s recovery are not impeded. The delay should last until measures are in place to prevent a scenario in which travelers are turned away at airport security checkpoints.”
More information about REAL ID is available at dhs.gov/real-id.