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REAL ID Requirements


The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production pursuant to recommendations by the 9/11 Commission. The law prohibits federal agencies from accepting, for certain purposes, driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting minimum REAL ID Act standards. The law covers access to federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and federally regulated commercial aircraft.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013, a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act to implement it in a measured, fair, and responsible way.


DHS extended the REAL ID full enforcement deadline from October 1, 2021 to May 7, 2025, according to a final rule notice in the March 9, 2023 Federal Register.


The Real ID Act does not require individuals to present identification to enter public areas of the Smithsonian, for example, or other federal facilities where it is not currently required. The laws does not prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identification such as a U.S. passport or passport card.

The REAL ID Act and the Department 

The Department is committed to comply with the REAL ID Act's phased enforcement schedule and regulatory timeframes.


More REAL ID Act information is available on the DHS website.