Get Ready for REAL ID

April 27, 2021

To travel by airplane beginning in May 2023, your driver’s license needs to be updated to a REAL ID.

On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will implement the final phase of REAL ID enforcement, requiring Americans to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of authenticated ID, such as a valid passport, to go through airport security checkpoints.

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REAL ID refers to a set of security standards established by Congress in 2005 for card issuance, card design and application processing that individual states must follow when issuing driver’s licenses and other forms of identification. Most REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses feature a star in the upper-right corner.


Nearly all U.S. states are complaint and issuing REAL ID driver’s licenses. Individual states have specific requirements but at minimum, documentation is need to show proof of identity, date of birth, Social Security number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. This Department of Homeland Security map indicates which states are compliant and includes links to individual state departments of motor vehicles for more information on what you’ll need to obtain a REAL ID.


An estimated 99 million Americans (39%) do not have any form of identification (e.g. REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID or an enhanced driver’s license) that will be accepted after May 3, 2023. Furthermore, a majority of Americans are unaware of the May 3, 2023 deadline for enforcement. Air travel risks being seriously disrupted if millions of passengers are turned away on May 3, 2023 for not having the necessary documents to fly.

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After May 3, 2023, driver’s licenses that are not REAL ID compliant will still be valid for driving but not for domestic flights at any U.S. airport. A valid passport is still required for international travel.

Download the graphics on this page to help spread the word on social media to ensure that all travelers flying within the U.S. secure a REAL ID ahead of the May 3, 2023 deadline.

Are you a meeting or event planner? Reference our Social Media Toolkit for sample social media copy and more tips to aid in messaging REAL ID information to your attendees.

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