Updated: October 12, 2023
The confusion over “Real ID” begins with its name …
“Real ID?” Does that mean my current ID isn't real –– is it a fake ID?
But seriously ...
Our goal here is pretty simple. We aim to cut through the confusion. We want to explain what Real ID is, why it exist, and why you need to know about it.
This explanation is told with the flying public in mind –– it’s what you need to know if you’re going on an airline flight.
With that thought let’s cut to the chase: beginning May 7, 2025, you won’t be able to use your driver’s license to fly on an airline, unless it meets “Real ID” requirements.
Yep. That’s it is a nutshell. That’s how Real ID affects the flying public.
Why Do I Need It?
The "Real ID Act" is the name of a federal law passed by Congress in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Several of the 9/11 terrorists easily obtained state driver’s licenses which allowed them to board the highjacked airliners. Simply put, the Real ID law requires that driver’s licenses be harder to counterfeit, and more difficult to obtain. IDs that meet the law's requirements are often called "Real ID."
Here’s what all this means to the average flyer: you need to get a driver’s license which meets Real ID requirements.
But wait, if only it was that simple …
The Real ID act allows for other forms of ID to be used for boarding flights. Other kinds of acceptable ID include, but are not limited to:
- A state ID card which meets Real ID requirements
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. military ID
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- Department of Homeland Security -designated enhanced driver’s license
- Federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation worker identification credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
Let’s assume that you don’t have one of these other forms of acceptable ID. Here’s what we suggest you do.
Apply for a driver’s license, or state ID card, which meets Real ID requirements. Most people flying from Springfield live in Missouri, but some live in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Click on your state below for details on how to get an ID which meets real ID requirements.