Real ID Act definition

The REAL ID Act was enacted in 2005, following the events of September 11th 2001 (9/11). It establishes the security standard for the issuance of licenses. It also limits federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by states that do not comply with the Act’s minimum standards. This act was aimed at eliminating airline terrorism by increasing the necessary requirements to obtain identification documents that grant an individual access to domestic planes.

In the U.S., driver’s licenses are used as the standard form of identification. Because the States issues them and not the Federal Government, each state had its own rules and criteria. The Real lD Act has set the minimum requirements that all states must follow by May 3rd, 2023 when issuing both driver’s licenses and State ID Cards.

Due to the REAL ID Act State agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) require more paperwork regarding proof of residency and Social Security Number when issuing licenses and identification cards. To get your Real ID, you must request a copy of your birth certificate, and present it at the DMV.

In most states, a REAL ID will have a gold or black star on the front of the license. U.S. passports are already REAL ID compliant.

Read more: Real ID requirements and Real ID compliant states