The Department of Homeland Security Postpones Enactment of Real ID to May 2025

December 8, 2022

The Real ID Act requires U.S. states to issue driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards that meet enhanced security standards for purposes of travel and admission to federal facilities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has postponed the enactment of the Real ID Act to May 7, 2025 due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic disruption. Originally slated for enactment on May 3, 2023, the agency will release an interim final rule to implement the postponement shortly. Initially, REAL ID required states to be in compliance by 2008, but for a variety of reasons, the deadline has been extended many times.

Commencing on May 7, 2025, air travelers in the United States will need to provide evidence of the defined identification materials in order to comply with security requirements of the REAL ID ACT. Specifically, the following documents will need to be presented by travelers in the U.S.: 

  • State-issued driver’s license or identification card meeting REAL ID requirements (generally with a star on top of the card); OR
  • An acceptable alternative form of identification. At this time, the following are approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
    • Unexpired U.S. or foreign passport
    • DHS Trusted Traveler Card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
    • U.S. permanent resident card 
    • USCIS employment authorization document (EAD); or
    • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license (EDL).
Additional documents may be found on the TSA list here

Presently, domestic travelers within the U.S. may continue to use valid U.S. state driver’s licenses and other identification cards. However, beginning May 7, 2025, enhanced security documents will be mandatory for such travel.
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