Does Domestic Travel Require Real ID?

As the world slowly reopens after the pandemic, many people are eager to travel domestically once again. However, with the introduction of the Real ID Act, many are left wondering whether they need to obtain a Real ID to travel within the United States. In this article, we will explore what the Real ID Act is, what documents are required to obtain a Real ID, and whether it is necessary for domestic travel.

Domestic travel within the United States requires a valid form of identification, but there has been some confusion about whether or not a Real ID is necessary. In this article, we will delve into the topic and discuss whether or not a Real ID is required for domestic travel within the United States.

Understanding the Real ID Act

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, which are now required to be Real ID compliant in order to be accepted by federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The Real ID Act requires that state-issued IDs meet certain security standards, including features such as a star in the top right corner of the ID. The Act also requires that individuals provide specific documents to prove their identity, lawful status in the United States, and residency in the state where the ID is being issued.

Obtaining a Real ID

In order to obtain a Real ID, individuals must provide specific documents to their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or licensing agency. These documents may include a birth certificate, passport, Social Security card, and two documents proving residency in the state.

The process of obtaining a Real ID can be time-consuming and sometimes expensive, as individuals may need to obtain new copies of their documents if they cannot locate them.

The Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards which are required to be Real ID compliant in order to be accepted by federal agencies, including the TSA. While a Real ID-compliant ID will be required for most domestic air travel starting October 1, 2021, there are several other acceptable forms of identification that can still be used, and some exceptions to the Real ID requirement exist. Travelers should check the requirements for their chosen form of identification well in advance of their travel plans to ensure that they have the necessary documentation and meet any additional requirements.

Common Misconceptions About Real ID

There are several misconceptions about the Real ID Act that have led to confusion among travelers. Here are a few common misconceptions:

  • Real ID is a national identification card: This is not true. Real ID is simply a set of security standards that state-issued IDs must meet in order to be accepted by federal agencies.
  • Real ID is required for all domestic travel: This is also not true. While Real ID may be required for certain federal purposes, such as entering a federal building or nuclear power plant, it is not required for domestic air travel.
  • All states are currently issuing Real IDs: This is not true either. While all states have the option to issue Real IDs, not all states are currently doing so. Check with your state’s DMV to see if they are issuing Real IDs.

Is Real ID Required for Domestic Travel?

The short answer is no, Real ID is not required for domestic air travel. However, starting October 1, 2021, individuals will be required to present a Real ID-compliant ID or another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport, to board a commercial flight within the United States.

The Real ID Act was passed in 2005 and established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. While a Real ID is not required for domestic air travel, starting October 1, 2021, individuals will need to present a Real ID-compliant ID or another acceptable form of identification to board a commercial flight within the United States. Acceptable forms of identification include a U.S. passport or passport card, DHS trusted traveler cards, U.S. military ID, permanent resident card, border crossing card, DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license, and federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID.

Acceptable Forms of Identification

In addition to a Real ID-compliant ID, there are several other acceptable forms of identification that can be used for domestic air travel. These include:

  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID

Exceptions

There are certain exceptions to the Real ID requirement for domestic air travel. For example, children under the age of 18 do not need to present identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. Additionally, individuals traveling on military orders may use their military ID as their form of identification.

Accepted Forms of Identification for Domestic Travel

While a Real ID-compliant ID will be required for domestic air travel starting October 1, 2021, there are several other acceptable forms of identification that can be used. These include a U.S. passport or passport card, DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST), U.S. military ID, permanent resident card, border crossing card, DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license, and federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID.

It is important to note that some forms of identification may have additional requirements or restrictions. For example, a U.S. passport must be valid and unexpired in order to be used for travel, and some trusted traveler programs require an additional background check and application process.

It is recommended that travelers check the requirements for their chosen form of identification well in advance of their travel plans to ensure that they have the necessary documentation and meet any additional requirements.

The Real ID Act requires state-issued IDs to meet certain security standards and individuals need to provide specific documents to prove their identity, lawful status, and residency in the state. While a Real ID-compliant ID will be required for most domestic air travel starting October 1, 2021, there are several other acceptable forms of identification that can be used, including a U.S. passport or passport card, DHS trusted traveler cards, U.S. military ID, and more. Children under 18 do not need to present identification when traveling with a companion within the U.S., and individuals traveling on military orders may use their military ID as their form of identification. It is important to check requirements for chosen forms of identification well in advance of travel plans to ensure necessary documentation and requirements are met.

Exceptions to the Real ID Requirement

While a Real ID-compliant ID or another acceptable form of identification will be required for most domestic air travel starting October 1, 2021, there are certain exceptions to the requirement.

Children under the age of 18 do not need to present identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. Additionally, individuals traveling on military orders may use their military ID as their form of identification.

It is important to note that while these exceptions may apply in certain situations, it is still recommended that travelers carry a form of identification with them when traveling domestically in case it is needed for other purposes, such as entering a federal building.

FAQs for does domestic travel require real id

What is a Real ID?

A Real ID is a type of identification card issued by the United States government that meets federal identification requirements. It is often compared to a regular state-issued driver’s license, but with additional security features.

Is a Real ID required for domestic travel?

Starting October 1, 2021, all domestic air travelers in the United States must present a Real ID-compliant form of identification to board a commercial aircraft. This requirement includes both domestic and international flights that depart from or arrive in the United States.

What forms of identification are acceptable for domestic air travel?

Acceptable forms of identification for domestic air travel include a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID, a US passport or passport card, a federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID, a permanent resident card, a Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID (such as Global Entry), or other federally approved forms of identification.

Do all states issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards?

Yes, all states and territories are required to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards. However, some states may still be in the process of implementing the standards required to issue a Real ID, so it’s important to check with your state’s DMV or licensing agency to make sure you have the correct information.

What happens if I don’t have a Real ID-compliant form of identification?

Starting October 1, 2021, passengers without a Real ID-compliant form of identification may not be allowed to board their flight. In certain cases, alternative forms of identification may be accepted, but it’s best to check with your airline before making travel plans.

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