REAL ID to Travel or Fly Domestically

Can I travel with my ID? Do I need the Real ID to fly domestically? Is it possible to provide my Employment Authorization Card (EAD) at the airport? A lot of immigrants have such questions especially when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the requirement for a Real ID for domestic flights by October 1, 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the deadline. Many Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are still closed or operate with limited capacity. Additionally, a lot people cannot schedule appointments online to renew their IDs and Driver Licenses. This is why the DHS extended the due date to make sure everybody can get a Real ID. The new deadline is May 3, 2023. 

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

Starting May 3, 2023, every individual 18 years of age and older will need a Real ID, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another ID that is accepted by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) at the airport for domestic flights.

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories covered by the Real ID Act. The following states issue Real ID and enhanced driver’s licenses: Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states. Both documents are acceptable. Washington state can issue only an enhanced driver’s license. The enhanced driver’s license has a flag. The Real ID driver’s license or ID cards are marked with a gold circle with a star in the upper right corner. 

If you need to check the information of your state, visit the DHS REAL ID website and click your state on the map.

Travelers 18 years old and over must have an ID at the airport checkpoint (information from the TSA official web site

  • Driver’s license or other state photo ID issued by DMV (Real ID starting May 3, 2023)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card (green card)
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

*For informational use only. 

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