REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards are now the real deal in the United States. If it’s your job to check the driver’s licenses and ID cards of Americans, especially from many different states and territories, it’s important to know what to look for. If you find it confusing, you’re not alone. Keesing’s free state-specific reference guide to REAL ID symbols and other markings can help.

The complex landscape of REAL ID

How well do you understand the variations in REAL ID by state and territory? Did you know:

  • REAL ID compliance isn’t always indicated by a gold star. The symbol for REAL ID can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Other variations include black-and-white stars and state-shaped symbols.
  • When a state redesigns its driving and ID credentials, it sometimes redesigns the REAL ID symbol too.
  • In some states, it’s REAL ID or nothing. They don’t allow residents to opt out of REAL ID. As such, they don’t issue cards that are not REAL ID-compliant.
  • Jurisdictions use a variety of phrases to indicate that driver’s licenses and ID cards are not REAL ID-compliant.

What you’ll find in our REAL ID quick reference guide

We break it down by specific state and territory and make it easy for you to find what you need. For each jurisdiction, we clearly display the:

  • Year REAL ID credentials were first issued.
  • Symbol(s) indicating compliance with the REAL ID Act.
  • Wording on standard (non-REAL ID-compliant) cards.
  • If applicable, a link to learn more about the Digital DL/ID card.

Here’s one example:

We update the page on a regular basis, so you can trust what you see.

If you’re a Keesing customer, you may have already linked to our REAL ID guide from But our REAL ID quick reference guide is available to everyone, as a free service.

So, click through, have a look, and bookmark our quick reference REAL ID guide today!


Documentchecker North American REAL ID by State

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Kristin Stanberry performs dual roles for Keesing Technologies. She’s responsible for document acquisition in North America, serving as liaison with the agencies that issue identity documents throughout the U.S. and Canada. And, as editor of the Keesing Platform, she works with experts around the world to bring their knowledge and insights to the Platform’s global audience.

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