It's REAL... The REAL ID
Deadline is Official

On May 3, 2023, REAL ID takes effect in the United States. After years of delays, REAL ID enforcement is now set to begin. Anyone taking a commercial flight in the United States on or after May 3, 2023 will be required to provide REAL ID compliant identification to board any federally-regulated commercial aircraft. So what do you need to know about the REAL ID and what effects could it have on your international travel plans? We’ve put together this FAQ to answer questions travelers like you have about this change in travel regulations.

  • Do you still need a passport after you get a REAL ID?
    • Yes. A REAL ID is not a replacement for your passport. You will still need a passport for international travel, and if required by the country you’re visiting, a visa as well. Your REAL ID only ensures you will be allowed through TSA security and onto your commercial flight.
  • Does this apply to all US states?
    • Yes. All US states and territories are expected to begin issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the May 3, 2023 deadline. Some states are giving applicants a choice of receiving a REAL ID compliant license or identification card, or a non-compliant version.
  • Are other countries installing this?
    • While not the same as the REAL ID card, there are many other countries that already have compulsory national ID card requirements for citizens, and there are also countries that issue non-compulsory national ID cards. These do not affect American citizens, though.
  • What will happen once REAL ID is enforced?
    • Once REAL ID goes into effect, the TSA will only be able to accept REAL ID compliant licenses and identification cards at TSA airport security checkpoints. Travelers without REAL ID compliant identification will need to bring their passport or a passport card to be allowed through the security checkpoint.
  • How to get a REAL ID?
    • You can apply for a REAL ID at your state’s driver licensing agency. Along with your application you’ll need to provide documentation showing:
  1.  Full Legal Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence;
  5. Proof of citizenship or legal resident alien status.

Some states may impose additional requirements, so you should visit your state’s driver licensing agency website to find out all required documents before visiting them.

  • How it's different than your current ID?
    • REAL ID licenses are marked “valid for federal identification purposes” with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. Standard licenses do not have this identification and instead will have an indicator that reads, “NOT FOR FEDERAL ID” to identify the card’s non-compliance with the REAL ID law. An Enhanced ID is acceptable for REAL ID purposes, and will allow you to travel on any domestic flight. An Enhanced ID is also acceptable identification at land and sea borders for traveling to and from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean. An Enhanced ID has an American flag emblem in place of the REAL ID’s star, to differentiate between the two.
  • Why has the REAL ID been delayed so long?
    • The REAL ID was originally supposed to be implemented on October 1, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic beginning to wane, the new deadline of May 3, 2023 was finalized.

If you’ve decided to forgo a REAL ID compliant identification card or license, you’ll need to ensure you have a passport or passport card if you plan on doing any commercial travel. If you need a new passport, or need to renew your current passport, CIBTvisas can help. Take a look at all of the passport services we offer.

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