After more than 15 years since the REAL ID Act was passed, all 50 US states are now in full compliance issuing these cards.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says all 50 states have issued more than 105 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licences and identification cards.

According to the DHS, this number represents 38% of all driver’s licences and identification card holders.

DHS says most states became REAL ID-compliant in the last four years.

On 1 October 2021 full enforcement of REAL ID will take effect at all federally regulated airports, federal facilities, and nuclear power plants.

The Department continues to urge Americans to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card or acceptable alternative, such as a US passport or passport card, prior to the deadline.

DHS explains that the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licences and identification cards, and prohibits federal agencies – like the Transportation Security Administration – from accepting licences and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards after specific deadlines.

Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who he or she claims to be.

The Department suggests following these guidelines to be fully informed and prepared:

  • Check your state-issued driver’s licence or identification card for the star. REAL ID-compliant cards generally have a star marking in the upper left- or right-hand corner. Most acceptable alternatives, such as state-issued Enhanced Driver’s Licences, do not have the star, but are acceptable for official REAL ID Act compliance purposes. Click here for more information on EDLs. 
  • Bring identity documents to the airport that are acceptable for flying domestically. Click here to check if you have the proper identification to fly. If you need to obtain a new form of ID, please allow sufficient processing time before you travel. For example, the current processing times for US passports are 6-8 weeks for routine service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service.
  • Check with the federal agency you plan to visit, in advance, to find out whether identification is required, and if so, what types of identity documents are acceptable. While most Federal agencies will continue to accept non-compliant driver’s licences and identification cards until the enforcement deadline of 1 October 2021, some – like Department of Defence facilities and posts – no longer accept them.
  • Read answers to REAL ID frequently asked questions here

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