Like most Americans, I use my state issued driver’s license to get through security checkpoints in the airport. However, recent changes to what qualifies a driver’s license as a valid form of federal ID is changing, and you might be affected by it.

This sudden change isn’t so sudden; it’s something that has been a decade in the making. Passed in 2005, the Real ID Act enacts a stricter and more secure set of standards for state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.


What must a “Real ID” have according to the Real ID Act? It must have your full legal name, address, birth date, gender, signature, license/ID number, and barcodes that are machine readable.

Who’s affected? States like Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington issue IDs that don’t comply with the new standards set forth by the Real ID Act.

TSA will stop accepting driver’s licenses from those states on January 22, 2018.

Seventeen states have filed for an extension in order to become compliant with the new standards under the Real ID Act. Residents of these states can use their state issued driver’s licenses until October 1, 2020 which is when all states have to be in compliance with the Real ID Act in order to fly or enter a federal building.

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