Infographic that shows why you need a REAL ID and what it is.

What is a REAL ID and why do you need one?

A REAL ID, indicated by a star on your driver's license, is a requirement for flying, among other things. Find out what it means.

Beginning in the fall of 2021, a new driver's license will be required for Americans who wish to travel domestically via commercial aircraft. Known as a REAL ID, this will also be required for entry to certain federal facilities.

What is a REAL ID exactly? The REAL ID Act, established in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, authorizes a federal standard for the issuance and production of identification cards and driver's licenses. How do you know if you already have one? There will be a star on driver's licenses on the upper right corner.

If your license isn't set to expire before then or you haven't visited a licensing facility yet, don't panic. You can still travel as long as you have an alternative document such as a passport or passport card.

In addition, some states are handling these requirements differently, and there are some exceptions, too. Keep reading to understand the new rules surrounding REAL IDs and what it means for you.

On October 21, 2021, REAL IDs are required for domestic travel and more.

Here are some basics of new driver's license requirements in every state.

What is a REAL ID?

A security-enhanced identification card.

All U.S. citizens need it to …

  • Fly domestically
  • Enter nuclear power plants
  • Access federal facilities

(It is not required for children under 18.)

Your current valid state-issued driver's license is still lawful for driving, renting a vehicle, purchasing alcohol and more.

How do I know if I have a REAL ID?

Look for a gold or black star on the top right corner of your ID.

How do I get a REAL ID?

Through your local DMV. Visit your state's DMV website to verify the required documentation. You will need legal documentation with:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Two proofs of address
  • Lawful status

Which states require REAL IDs?

All states and territories. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, New York and Washington states also issue enhanced driver's licenses.

Enhanced driver's licenses are acceptable replacements for REAL IDs, and can also be used for travel to and from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries.

Can I still fly without a REAL ID?

Yes, but you will need a U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card or State-issued Enhanced Driver's License. A REAL ID does not replace the use of a U. S. Passport for international travel.

Check the TSA website for a list of acceptable forms of ID.

Discover more tips to help safeguard your identity at

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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