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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:

REAL ID Act Enforcement Phases

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 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: November 1, 2018

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