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The terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001, led the U.S. Congress to create and establish several new laws to protect the country. One of the laws that came into existence as a result of the attacks is the REAL ID Act.
What is the REAL ID Act? Under the REAL ID Act, minimum security standards for the issuance and production of licenses and state identification cards were put in place. If these minimum standards are not met, federal agencies are prohibited from allowing entrance.
As of May 7th, 2025, U.S. citizens and residents must have a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card to enter federal facilities, board commercial aircraft and enter nuclear power plants.
In the case that you do not have a Real ID yet, there are a few steps you can follow to get it. The following are the requirements to get a Real ID.
Real ID compliant identification is marked with a gold star. This makes it easier for federal workers to tell the difference between compliant and non-compliant ID cards and licenses. Nonetheless, a few states have issued IDs without the gold star.
In order to receive a Real ID, it is necessary to show proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, proof of social security number, proof of address, and proof of all legal name changes. You will need to provide original or government-issued copies of all your documents. For instance, your birth certificate must be a certified copy.
The Real ID does not impact your ability to drive, vote, or purchase items that require identification. The Real ID is necessary to enter a power plant, access federal facilities, visit military bases or board commercial flights.
Real ID Compliant states include the following (latest update: December 16, 2022):
States that have been granted an extension are:
This is also the case for most US overseas territories. However, at present, American Samoa is still yet to be fully Real ID compliant
And finally, here is a comprehensive table including their status:
|State||Real ID status|
|District of Columbia||In compliance|
|New Hampshire||In compliance|
|New Jersey||In compliance|
|New Mexico||In compliance|
|New York||In compliance|
|North Carolina||In compliance|
|North Dakota||In compliance|
|Rhode Island||In compliance|
|South Carolina||In compliance|
|South Dakota||In compliance|
|West Virginia||In compliance|