November 21, 2019

Contact: Katie Webster (202 225 5315)


In less than a year on October 1, 2020, a REAL ID will be required to board a commercial plane and access Federal facilities. 

This can be a confusing process, so I have included a few frequently asked questions about REAL ID below. Should you have any further questions, be sure to contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), visit in.gov/bmv, or visit dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.

Q: What is a REAL ID and why is it required?

A: In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act after the 9/11 Commission recommended that the Federal Government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses." The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began its phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act on December 20, 2013. A REAL ID card is a driver's license, permit, or identification card obtained using increased and stricter proof of identification.

Q: What do I need a REAL ID for?

A: A REAL ID is necessary, beginning October 1, 2020, to access Federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants, and board commercial aircrafts.

Q: What happens if I show up to the airport after October 1, 2020 with a non-REAL ID identification card?

A: Travelers who do not present a REAL ID-compliant license beginning October 1, 2020 will not be allowed through TSA security checkpoints at airports.

Q: Are there alternatives to REAL ID cards?

A: Click here for TSA's list of compliant alternatives to a REAL ID card (including a passport).

Q: Does my child have to get a REAL ID card to fly?

A: TSA does NOT require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United Sates. However, the adult companion DOES need a REAL ID.

Q: How do I know if I already have one?

A: REAL ID-compliant identification cards will have a star on the top half of the card (most likely the top right corner):

 source: in.gov

Q: What documents do I need to bring to the BMV in order to receive my REAL ID?

A: When you arrive at the BMV you will need documents that show: Identity (Full Name and Date of Birth), Social Security Number, Two Proofs of Address, and Lawful Status.

Below are some examples of the appropriate documents:

Proof of Identity (Full Legal Name and Date of Birth): 

  • United States birth certificate.
  • Unexpired United States passport.
  • Foreign passport with a visa and I-94 form.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

Proof of Social Security:

  • Social Security card.
  • W-2 form.
  • SSA-1099 form.
  • Non-SSA-1099 form.
  • Pay stub with your name and Social Security number on it. 

Two Proofs of Address: 

  • Computer generated bill from a utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital, issued within 60 days of the date you visit a BMV branch, and containing your name and address of residence.
  • Bank statement.
  • Pre-printed pay stub.
  • Medicaid or Medicare benefit statement. 

Proof of Lawful Status:
*In most cases, the document presented to prove your identity will also prove your lawful status in the United States.

  • United States birth certificate.
  • Unexpired United States passport.
  • Foreign passport with a visa and I-94 form.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

If Applicable: Name Change:
*If your current legal name is different than on your identity or lawful status document, you must show legal proof of the changes made.

  • Marriage license.
  • Divorce license.
  • Court order approving a change of legal name or date or birth.
  • An original or certified copy of an amended birth certificate showing a change of name.
Click here for a comprehensive list from the BMV of the appropriate documentation you can bring to the BMV. Should you have any further questions, be sure to visit in.gov/bmv or dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.

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