REAL ID Enforcement Deadline Has Been Extended Until May 2023
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Does your driver’s license have a star yet? ⭐️
Due to circumstances resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic and the national emergency declaration, you now have two more years to update your driver’s license. The Department of Homeland Security has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline from October 1, 2021, to May 3, 2023. Head to their site to better understand why you need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to fly and enter federal facilities.
Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler (ages 18 and older) will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Without an approved form of identification, you may not be allowed to pass through airport security or board your flight.
To some, this may be old news since Congress passed the REAL ID Act back in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission determined that it was too easy for people to obtain a driver’s license. So, to close this security loophole, air travelers are now required to obtain REAL IDs.
In order to obtain your Real ID, you’ll need to present your birth certificate or green card, Social Security card, two documents that show your proof of address, and proof of name change (if applicable).
NOTE: Now that DMVs are open with updated COVID-19 guidelines, you’ll be able to follow the steps below to obtain your REAL ID.
Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Check if your current ID is Real ID-compliant.
If your ID is compliant, it will have one of the symbols shown above in the upper right-hand corner of the card. If you aren’t 100% sure whether your license is REAL ID-compliant, the TSA urges you to check with your state driver’s license agency.
The DHS states only 43% of Americans currently have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.
Note that some states vary:
- Legacy Ohio driver’s licenses have a gold star marking on the card, however, REAL ID-compliant Ohio driver’s licenses have a black cut-out star. If you are not sure whether your card is compliant, contact the Ohio driver’s license issuing agency.
About enhanced driver’s licenses:
- Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses (EDL’s), both of which are acceptable.
- Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only.
- State-issued EDL’s are marked with a flag. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect.
2. If you don’t see the star, you’ll need a Real ID.
You can visit your state driver’s license agency website to learn how to apply for your Real ID.
3. Allow yourself plenty of time.
There is no way to complete the process online, so you will need to go in person to present documentation in order to get your REAL ID. DMV’s across the country are expected to see major spikes in wait times due to this new regulation and some locations in select states are even requiring appointments to help streamline this process.
NOTE: Some states across the country have only select DMVs issuing REAL ID driver’s licenses at their facilities. Contact your local DMV to check if they are a REAL ID site before you head out with your documentation.
4. Don’t assume that your driver’s license is REAL ID-compliant.
If you’re planning to fly on or after May 3rd, 2023, don’t assume that your driver’s license is REAL ID-compliant, even if you’ve recently renewed it. This could cause major problems in your future travels – hindsight is 20/20 so make sure to get ahead of the game now.
5. Be prepared to pay fees.
While every state is going to be different with the fees they charge, you’re likely going to be paying for two fees when you get your Real ID:
- One-time fee for upgrading to a Real ID ($60.50 in my state)
- Fee for a 4-year extension for your license valid date. ($30.50 in my state)
If you have a current driver’s license in good standing, the good news is that you’ll get an extension for the date that your license is valid until you upgrade to the REAL ID. This means that if you still have two years left on your current license it will be added to the regular 4 years that the REAL ID is valid for – making your REAL ID valid for a total of 6 years right off the bat!
Of course, everyone will be different, but just know that you aren’t losing years that you once paid for when you got your old license.
All fees are typically required to be paid by check or money order, but please check with your local DMV before making a trip to get your REAL ID.