Everything you need to know about the REAL ID deadline

Learn why you’ll need a REAL ID to take a domestic flight and how to get one.

The airport security line in Chicago.

Beginning on May 7, 2025 you will not be able to board a domestic flight without a REAL ID.

Photo by Matthew Turner via Pexels

The real REAL ID deadline is quickly approaching. After being pushed back for over a decade, the Dept. of Homeland Security’s most recent extension of the deadline brings it to May 7, 2025. What does this mean for you? You’ll need to get a new, special ID in order to travel domestically. Before we tell you how to get one, let’s dive into the why you’ll need one.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses and identification cards.” As a result, individuals must meet a minimum security standard to receive a state-issued driver’s license and identification card — and these must be used when taking a domestic flight or accessing federal facilities.

Are you REAL ID ready? Take this 30-second quiz to find out, or check your current driver’s license or state ID — if it has a star in the upper right-hand corner, you’re all set. To learn how to get a REAL ID, go to your state’s driver’s licensing agency website.

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