Currently, you do not need a REAL ID to fly domestically within the U.S.
This will change on May 7, 2025, at which point a REAL ID will be required to fly domestic, though the TSA will still accept several other forms of ID.
Do You Need a REAL ID to Fly?
From May 7, 2025, you will need a Real ID to fly domestically within the U.S.
Note that a REAL ID is required only if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S.
Also note that Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only.
State-issued enhanced driver’s licenses are marked with a flag.
Other forms of ID will also be acceptable to fly with, which we list below.
When Will You Need a REAL ID to Fly?
You will need a REAL ID to fly starting from May 7, 2025, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S.
Why Will REAL ID Be Necessary to Fly?
The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 but will only come into effect on May 7, 2025, due to various roadblocks and the Covid pandemic.
It was passed by Congress to establish “minimum security standards for license issuance and production” to help prevent fraudulent identification, regardless if it’s your first time flying or not.
How Can You Check If Your ID is REAL ID Compliant?
You can check if your ID is REAL ID compliant by checking to see if there is a star at the top of your license.
How Much Does a REAL ID Cost?
REAL ID driver licenses, cost $30-35 depending on the state, plus applicable renewal fees.
In California, for example, REAL ID costs $35 compared to $30 in Pennsylvania.
What Happens If You Turn Up at the Airport Without a REAL ID?
From May 7, 2025, if you arrive at the airport without a REAL ID or other form of acceptable ID, you will not be permitted through the security checkpoint and will therefore not be able to fly.
Currently, it may still be possible to fly if you do not have a valid form of identification, as long as you provide other documents that can help prove your identity, which the TSA will use along with checking in existing databases to prove your identity.
However, starting from May 7, 2025, this is unlikely to still be the case.
Will Minors Need a REAL ID to Fly Domestically?
Minors will not need a REAL ID to fly domestically.
As long as a minor (someone who is under 18) is accompanied by an adult who has an acceptable form of ID to fly, they do not need any ID to fly.
However, the airline you are flying with may ask you to show proof of the child’s age.
It’s therefore a good idea to travel with a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
Related: What Do Kids Need to Fly?
How Can You Get a REAL ID to Fly?
If you want to get a REAL ID, you should visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website or give them a call to find out what the exact requirements are.
At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing:
- Your full legal name
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Two proofs of address of your principal residence
- Your lawful status
Are TSA PreCheck Passengers Subject to REAL ID Requirements?
TSA PreCheck passengers still require a REAL ID to fly from May 7, 2025, or any other form or acceptable ID.
Are CLEAR Enrolled Passengers Subject to REAL ID Requirements?
Passengers using CLEAR and passengers enrolled in CLEAR will need a REAL ID or other acceptable form of ID starting May 7, 2025.
Are There Any There Alternatives to a REAL ID For Flying?
There are several alternatives to flying with a REAL ID card, including a passport, passport card, Global Entry Card, as well as various forms of military ID and other government-issued IDs.
The TSA state that the following forms of ID are acceptable to fly with:
- Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Permanent resident card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Border crossing card
- An acceptable photo ID issued by a federally recognized, Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation worker identification credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
Do You Need a REAL ID to Fly If You Have a Passport?
If you have a passport, you do not need a REAL ID to fly domestically.
Refer to the acceptable forms of ID we just listed above.
Can You Use a REAL ID to Fly Internationally?
A REAL ID cannot be used to fly internationally; it can only be used to fly domestically.
If you are flying internationally, a passport is necessary, even for minors.
A visa may also be required depending on the country you are flying to.
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Robert is a seasoned flyer who knows more about commercial air travel than practically anyone else out there due to the time he has spent at airports and on planes over the years for work.