Just a Reminder That You Have One Year to Get Your Real ID

The countdown begins

Transportation Security Administration Officials Demonstrates Time Saving Travel Tips At Miami Airport
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The deadline to get your Real ID is just under a year away. Starting May 3, 2023, all travelers 18 and up will be required to show their REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card at TSA airport security checkpoints to board their plane.

REAL ID, a byproduct of the 2005 REAL ID Act, is a form of identification that meets minimum security standards in a post 9/11 world. While the average U.S. citizen will only need it to board a federally regulated commercial aircraft, it can also be used to enter certain federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

Although the original deadline to get a REAL ID was set for Oct. 1, 2021, it has been extended a couple of times throughout the pandemic, as state licensing agencies throughout the country have had to start issuing REAL IDs by appointment only.

“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a statement last year. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.” 

Not sure if your ID or driver's license meets protocol? Look in the upper right-hand corner of your ID: Most REAL IDs will feature either a gold or black star, though California IDs will have a gold bear with a star in its middle.

If you haven't gotten your REAL ID yet, head to your state's driver's licensing agency website to schedule your appointment. However, if you miss the deadline, have no fear. TSA's other forms of acceptable identification include passports, passport cards, state-issued Enhanced Driver's Licenses, and DHS-trusted traveler cards.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Department of Homeland Security. "DHS Announces Extension of REAL ID Full Enforcement Deadline." April 27, 2021.

  2. Department of Homeland Security. "REAL ID Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed May 11, 2022.

  3. Transportation Security Administration. "Identification." Accessed May 11, 2022.