expediteyourpassport.com is privately owned and is neither operated by, nor affiliated with, any government agency.

Real ID Cards vs. Passports

The Real ID Act, which became a law in 2005, was passed in response to the attacks that occurred on 9/11. The Real IDlegislation sets federal standards on all drivers licenses to improve their reliability and security. Although not all states are compliant yet, the deadline to meet the law’s requirements is Oct. 1, 2020.

As the deadline approaches, the act will affect more and more air travelers. If they do not have a passport or a Real identification card or license, they will not be able to fly domestically. US passports are already compliant with the new regulations. Therefore, as long as the documentation is valid, holders can fly domestically and internationally. Given that each is sufficient for a certain type of travel, many US citizens are unsure whether they should obtain Real identification or simply maintain their passports. For comprehensive details, review the sections below.

What is a Real ID card?

The new Real ID card is an identification card or drivers license that meets modern standards. The goal of the act was to improve the reliability and accuracy of identification in the United States. This is because some of theindividuals involved in the hijacking of airplanes on September 11 used fraudulent identification.Therefore, a new system was created to make IDs harder to duplicate.

Given its new security measures, the new federal ID will allow you to fly in the US. If you own an expired passport or do not have one, and you do not have a Real ID, you will not be able to fly after Oct. 1, 2020. Additionally, the card is also a form of federal identification. If you are unsure if you own a federal ID card with the new security features, look at your license or identification card. If you see it has a star on the upper-right side on the front of the card, then it is a federally complaint card.

Residents who do not have a Real ID or a passport in compliant states will not be able to fly domestically. They can purchase a new card for a fee at their local motor vehicles office. However, having a new ID is not mandatory for other activities. You will still be able to do the following with a standard DMV drivers license, for example:

Do I still need a US Passport?

US passports are Real ID-approved. This means that if you were to fly domestically and do not have a new ID, you can use your passport as a type of identification. Additionally, passports are required to fly internationally. You will not be able to travel to another country with just your new ID card.

Besides travel reasons, your passport can be used as a form of identification and citizenship. You cannot get a passport without being a citizen.Furthermore, in terms of federal identification, if you wanted to visit a federal facility or military base but do not own a Real ID card, the facility will accept your passport or passport card as an alternative. Thus, if you already own a passport, the need for a Real ID is minimal. And if you do not own a valid passport, applying for one is more beneficial for travel and identification purposes. 

Does your state meet Real ID requirements?

Not all state IDs are compliant with the Real ID Act yet. In fact, many states were slow to initially support the ID act. A reason why is because many states believe that it breaks the 10th Amendment, which establishes the division of power between federal and state governments. However, all states have now accepted the requirement, which is why the hard deadline is set for Oct. 1,2020.The states that were given a few years to enact the transition were given this time to fund, craft and offer compliant IDs to their residents.

The following states that received an extension and are not compliant at the moment are:

Meanwhile, many states have already enacted the Real ID program. These states include the following:

How to Get a Real ID

If the state you live in offers the Real ID card, you canget the card at any time. You do not need to wait for your current license or identification card to expire. However, in order to get the new card, you have to go in person to a local DMV office. You cannot go through the process by phone, online or by mail. To obtain the card, you need to bring the following items with you to the DMV:

To save time during your visit, schedule a DMV appointment in advance.

How to Get a Passport

If you are looking to apply for a US passport for the first time, you can go in person to a passport agency or acceptance facility. You can get a head start on the application process by printing out the passport application online andfilling it out at home. In addition to the form, you will also need to submit the following:

For expedited passport service and processing in as little as one business day, applicants can submit a request through a third-party provider online.