When is the best time to get my Real ID?

 

If you're looking for a great overview to getting your Real ID card, this post is for you. By October 2020 the TSA will start enforcing Real ID card requirements to everyone in the United States for air travel. This guide helps answer all of your questions including when is the best time to get your Real ID card, are their travel alternatives to the Real ID, should I just get a passport, and does my state even have the Real ID card available yet?

If you're ready to get your Real ID, you can make an appointment for your local DMV office.

What is the Real ID card?

The REAL ID Act of 2005 calls for states to issue ID documents that meet a higher level of security and standards. The final part of the roll-out involves the TSA enforcing REAL ID-compliant ID’s for air travel. That means that if you fly domestically eventually you will need a REAL ID or a passport, and the timelines for this are different in each state. Here's an in-depth blog post specific to getting your Real ID in California.

Is the Real ID card available in my state?

As of this post in March 2018, most states are currently compliant. However 16 states still are not, and that means that in these states you still have to wait.

Since there's a lot of confusion on deadlines, extensions, enforcement, our team spent some time to put the below map together for you: This is the full map of compliant states (blue) and non-compliant states (orange) with the planned date of compliance.

YoGov---Map-of-Real-ID-Compliant-States

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What does it mean if my state is Real ID compliant?

It can mean two things.

1) It might mean you already have a federally-compliant state ID. A number of states have been issuing Real ID compliant cards for several years now. For example, if you renewed your license or got a new license in Delaware, Florida, Indiana, and Utah after 2010, you should be all set! (At the bottom of this post we have the full list of compliance dates for every single state.)

2) It might mean that next time you're up for renewal you'll be able to get your Real ID. For example, California and Michigan just started issuing Real ID's this January. So now when you go to these DMVs to renew, you should ask to get your Real ID card instead of the regular driver's license.

What's the difference between the Real ID card and a driver's license?

They are the same thing. The Real ID card is just the upgraded version of your driver's license. So you will only have one driver's license, and by October 2020, it will need to be the "Real ID" federally compliant version to use for air travel.

What does it mean if my state is not Real ID compliant?

It means that you'll need to wait a little bit longer. But not too much longer. Massachusetts is scheduled to start issuing Real ID's at the end of March 2018. Most of the other states will start issuing in October 2018. And in a handful you'll have to wait until January 2019.

When is the best time to get my Real ID?

Finally the big question answered. You should get your Real ID as soon as possible. As mentioned, by October 2020 you'll be required to have a federally-compliant ID when flying or visiting federal facilities.

So, even if you license is not going to expire for another year, it's a very good idea to visit your local DMV and upgrade as soon as possible. We project that DMV's will only get busier and busier as the months countdown until October 2020. If you do decide to go soon, you can save time by making an appointment ahead of time.

What do I need to bring to get my Real ID?

Since this is a federally-compliant ID with the stated purpose of making us all safer, you need to make sure you bring the following identity documents: proof of identity, proof of social security number, and proof of residency. Each state has slight variations on what's required and acceptable, but generally those are the requirements. Here's a detailed post on what you'll need to bring in California.

Can I just get a passport instead of my Real ID?

You can but.... Do you really want to travel with your passport every time you take a flight? Our YoGov recommendation: Get both! Make an appointment for a Real ID then make plans to get your passport.

I still have questions

We can definitely try to help answer them for you! Feel free to drop us a note by hitting the blue chat button in the bottom corner or emailing us at [email protected].

And if you found this post helpful, feel free to share. You can help demystify the Real ID process for everyone else too. This is the most significant national ID update ever!

 

Read More:

What is a Real ID and do I need one? 

What documents do I need to get my Real ID? 

What are your chances of passing the DMV road test? 

What are some tips to avoid getting a parking ticket? 

 

Real ID compliance dates by state

Compliant States

  • Alabama Real ID compliance: February 2012
  • Arizona Real ID compliance: April 2016
  • Arkansas Real ID compliance: October 2016
  • California Real ID compliance: January 2018
  • Colorado Real ID compliance: July 2013
  • Connecticut Real ID compliance: October 2011
  • Delaware Real ID compliance: July 2010
  • Florida Real ID compliance: January 2010
  • Georgia Real ID compliance: July 2012
  • Hawaii Real ID compliance: March 2012
  • Idaho Real ID compliance: January 2018
  • Indiana Real ID compliance: January 2010
  • Iowa Real ID compliance: January 2013
  • Kansas Real ID compliance: August 2017
  • Maryland Real ID compliance: June 2016
  • Michigan Real ID compliance: January 2018
  • Mississippi Real ID compliance: June 2017
  • Montana Real ID compliance: January 2018
  • Nebraska Real ID compliance: September 2013
  • Nevada Real ID compliance: November 2014
  • New Mexico Real ID compliance: November 2016
  • New York Real ID compliance: October 2017
  • North Carolina Real ID compliance: May 2017
  • Ohio Real ID compliance: May 2017
  • Pennsylvania Real ID compliance: March 2018
  • South Carolina Real ID compliance: February 2018
  • South Dakota Real ID compliance: December 2009
  • Tennessee Real ID compliance: June 2017
  • Texas Real ID compliance: October 2016
  • Utah Real ID compliance: January 2010
  • Vermont Real ID compliance: January 2014
  • Washington DC Real ID compliance: May 2014
  • West Virginia Real ID compliance: January 2012
  • Wisconsin Real ID compliance: January 2013
  • Wyoming Real ID compliance: June 2011

Non-Complaint States

  • Alaska Real ID compliance: January 2019
  • Illinois Real ID compliance: January 2019
  • Kentucky Real ID compliance: January 2019
  • Rhode Island Real ID compliance: January 2019
  • Louisiana Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Maine Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Minnesota Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Missouri Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • New Hampshire Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • New Jersey Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • North Dakota Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Oklahoma Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Oregon Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Virginia Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Washington Real ID compliance: October 2018
  • Massachusetts Real ID compliance: March 2018

 

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