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What You Need to Know About REAL ID

Beginning May of 2025, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Are you ready? We’re breaking down the information you need to know to be prepared come October.

Check for the star!

REAL ID compliant cards are generally marked with a star located in the upper portion of the card.

Enhanced Driver's Licenses

Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only. State-issued enhanced driver's licenses are marked with a flag.

How do I get a REAL ID?

Check with your state driver’s license agency. You will need to go in person to present documentation to verify who you are and where you live in order to get your REAL ID. But the good news is that The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to offer an online process to obtain REAL IDs in the future.

If you’re unable to get a REAL ID before May of 2025, TSA will accept other forms of ID so you can still board your flight, including:

  • S. Passport
  • S. Military ID
  • Enhanced Driver’s License
  • DHS Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

Will minors need to have a driver’s license or state ID to fly domestically?

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion, however, will need acceptable identification.

Learn more about REAL ID by visiting the Transportation Security Administration.


Written by Hemisphere Educational Travel