If you don't have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, make an appointment now

UPDATE (March 26, 2020): Citing the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump said on Monday that “the federal government will delay requirements for Americans to obtain a Real ID to travel.” A “12-month delay” makes the new deadline October 1, 2021, though that could still be amended.

In a press release last week, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf shared that “approximately two-thirds of all licenses are presently not compliant with REAL ID.” In case you’d forgotten, a standard-issue driver’s license will not be accepted as ID at U.S. airports starting on October 1 of this year. To be able to board a domestic flight, as we’ve written before, you’ll need to show a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another form of ID from the list at the bottom of this page.

If you have this star icon in the upper-right corner, you have a REAL ID driver’s license. If you don’t, you’re going to need to apply for one at a DMV or other approved location—and you should really get started now. Appointments are booking out months in advance. I just booked my dad an appointment in Florida, and the first available appointment was in the middle of May!

Each state has its own process, so the best way to begin is by going to your state DMV website. A great CNN article updated over the weekend goes into things in more detail, including the fact that two states—Oklahoma and Oregon—haven’t begun issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses yet. Oregon will begin issuing them on July 6, while “it is estimated that the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will begin issuing REAL ID documents April 30.”

For even more info, you can head right to the Department of Homeland Security website.

What forms of ID are acceptable for domestic flyers?

Until October 1, a standard-issue driver’s license is an acceptable form of ID for domestic flyers at U.S. airports. From October 1 forward, you must show one (1) item from this list:

  • REAL ID-compliant state driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • US Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • US Merchant Mariner Credential


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3 Comments On "If You Don't Have a REAL ID-Compliant Driver's License, Make an Appointment Now"
  1. Richard Knox|

    A Veterans ID card is also acceptable.

  2. Kathy W|

    Well, the REAL ID can only be issued by the DMV, and when I tried to schedule an appointment online it indicated there were no appointments available (WHATEVER THAT MEANS) in Torrance, Compton, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, etc. Rather than list what appointments there were, I basically wasted time, then called the DMV directly (as directed on the website) only to receive an automated message that they could not schedule appointments and to hold (48 minute wait time) for an agent. NO THANK YOU! So Johnny, what do we do now??

  3. Aayushi|

    Thanks for your post

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