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REAL ID Federal Enforcement

REAL IDSecure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

There are four phases of enforcement, with Phase 4 beginning on January 22, 2018.  For more information, please visit the REAL ID Enforcement page.

Current Enforcement

American Samoa is subject to REAL ID enforcement as of February 5, 2018.

Starting February 5, 2018, residents of American Samoa, which is not compliant with REAL ID and was not granted an extension, will no longer be allowed to use their American Samoa-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to access federal facilities (including military bases), enter nuclear power plants or board commercial aircraft.  American Samoa residents will need to show an alternative form of identification that is acceptable to the facility.  Visitors should contact the facility to determine what, if any, identification is needed for access.

Future Enforcement Dates

February 5, 2018

All non-compliant states/territories that do not have an extension will be subject to REAL ID enforcement at TSA checkpoints as of February 5, 2018.

REAL ID Extensions

DHS is in the process of developing the current extension criteria.

DHS will provide more information on this website when it becomes available.

We look forward to continuing to work with your jurisdiction in meeting the minimum security standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards. Please contact us if you have any questions at REALID@dhs.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I need to do if I am visiting a federal facility or a military base?

Residents from a state/territory that is compliant with REAL ID or non-compliant with REAL ID, but has received an extension may continue to use their current state/territory-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, regardless of whether the card is REAL ID compliant or not, for accessing federal facilities, including military bases.  This is what we call “state-based” enforcement.  Only the state that issued the resident’s license/ID must be either compliant or have been granted an extension in order for that resident to use that license/ID for accessing Federal facilities.  The license/ID itself does not have to be REAL ID compliant until “card-based” enforcement begins on October 1, 2020.

Starting February 5, 2018, residents of American Samoa, which is not compliant with REAL ID and was not granted an extension, will no longer be allowed to use their American Samoa-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to access federal facilities (including military bases), enter nuclear power plants or board commercial aircraft.  As noted above, this is what we call “state-based” enforcement.  American Samoa residents will need to show an alternative form of identification that is acceptable to the facility.  Visitors should contact the facility to determine what, if any, identification is needed for access.

Fifty-five out of fifty-six states and territories are currently compliant with REAL ID or non-compliant with an extension.  The residents from these states and territories may continue using their driver’s licenses or identification cards, regardless of whether the license/ID is REAL ID compliant or not, for accessing Federal facilities (including military bases), entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.  The February 5, 2018, enforcement date only applies currently to the residents of American Samoa.

Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft.  This is what we call “card-based” enforcement.  The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport.

Last Published Date: February 6, 2018

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