As a driver, you may have heard about REAL ID and its nationwide implementation. But what exactly is it, and why is it important? REAL ID is a program established by the federal government in 2005 to improve the security and integrity of state-issued identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, by setting minimum standards for the information that must be provided, as well as the materials and production processes used.

The implementation of REAL ID requires state licensing agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to adopt certain measures to ensure that they are issuing secure and tamper-proof IDs. This blog post will provide an overview of REAL ID, its implications for drivers, and how to obtain one.

REAL ID Explained

To understand the implications of REAL ID, it’s essential to know what the law requires. REAL ID mandates that states must require residents to provide more stringent documentation proving their identity and US citizenship or legal status.

Additionally, states are required to verify that this documentation is legitimate and store it in a secure database. Furthermore, the physical IDs themselves must include certain security features, such as new holograms, barcodes, and markings, to verify their authenticity.


AlabamaKentuckyNorth Carolina
AlaskaLouisianaNorth Dakota
ConnecticutMinnesotaRhode Island
DelawareMississippiSouth Carolina
FloridaMissouriSouth Dakota
IllinoisNew HampshireVermont
IndianaNew JerseyVirginia
IowaNew MexicoWashington
KansasNew YorkWest Virginia

If you’re unsure whether you already have a REAL ID or what documentation is required, the DMV’s website provides valuable information about the process. You can start by checking to see if your state has implemented the REAL ID program or whether it provides REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or IDs. Some states offer the option to obtain a REAL ID when renewing a driver’s license online, while others require an in-person visit to the DMV.


Now that you understand the basics of REAL ID, it’s time to take action if you don’t already have a compliant form of identification. With the looming deadline of May 7th, 2025, it’s critical to make sure you have the necessary documentation to travel domestically by air.

Contact your local DMV or visit their website to determine whether your state offers REAL ID-compliant licenses and what documents you’ll need to provide. Obtaining a REAL ID may require more effort, but with the added security measures, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and compliance with the law.