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Have you heard the latest? Is your state compliant? Starting October 1, 2020, if you have not obtained a REAL ID Card, you will not be able to board a domestic flight with only your Driver License. A valid United States passport or other federally approved identification like a military ID will still get you on a domestic commercial flight. However, you will not be able to access federal facilities and nuclear power plants without a REAL ID.

I recently learned this when at the DMV renewing my driver license. I wish I would have paid more attention to the details of what I needed to bring with me in order to get the REAL ID card– which is basically your state’s driver license with a gold star added to it, stating you are in fact, a citizen of the United States. I had been hearing some rumblings of this, but honestly paid little attention until my license was about to expire. I looked further into the explanation behind the REAL ID, and in case you also are unaware here is a brief description of its purpose according to the Department of Homeland Security website:

Secure 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. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

You can check the dhs.gov/real-id website to find out if your state is compliant or has an extension. Apparently, participation by states is voluntary, so each state basically has the option of whether or not they are going to choose to become compliant under the REAL ID Act. However, regardless if your state chooses to become compliant, a regular driver license will no longer be an acceptable form of ID to board a domestic flight or access federal facilities and nuclear power plants after October 1, 2020. Sounds like you will either need to have a REAL ID or a valid US Passport no matter what.


Clearly, I am not a federal agency, nor do I work for one. I obtained this information, just like you can, through the Department of Homeland Security and the Nevada DMV websites. The information I am sharing with you below is from a flyer given to me from the NVDMV. You should always check with your own state in regards to compliance information and if there are any further documentation needed in order to apply for and obtain your REAL ID. I am sharing this info with you because I was totally annoyed at the fact that I went all the way down to the DMV (with an appointment!) and did not have the right docs with me, and now I have to go back. So this is really just a courtesy post, not an official government issued certified one.

If you choose to update your current license with a REAL ID prior to October 1, 2020, here is what you need to bring with you to the DMV:

  • Proof of Identity:
    • US Birth Certificate
    • US Passport or Passport Card
    • US Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization
    • Permanent Resident/Resident Alien Card (I-551) (Permanent Resident Cards must be updated at age 14 unless the bearer turns age 16 prior to expiration)
    • Foreign Passport with temporary I-551 stamp
    • Out of State REAL ID (not marked limited term)
    • Name change documents such as a marriage certificate or court order- if different from birth name
  • Limited-Term Documents: (Limited-Term will be indicated when limited-term Immigration documents are presented)
    • Employment Authorization card (I-766)
    • Foreign Passport, US Visa & I-94
  • One (1) – Proof of Social Security Number
    • Social Security Card
    • Paystub with complete Social Security Number
    • W-2 or 1099

*All documents must be valid, unexpired original or certified copies that were issued in the United States (except for foreign passports). The DMV does not accept photocopies.

By the way, you actually have to go to the DMV to update to a REAL ID because they will take your picture. No worries though! There are several DMVs in the Las Vegas and Henderson areas that schedule appointments. I did this last week, and it was easy peasy. Like in and out in 15 minutes, no joke.

For the record, the following items are NOT affected by whether or not you have a REAL ID:

  • Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • Accessing Health or life-preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

I encourage you to visit the dhs.gov/real-id website and your state’s DMV website to learn more about the REAL ID Act. It is actually laid out quite well and answers a ton more questions than the snippets I have here.

*RSMLVTravel and RockStarMomLV is not and was not employed by any government agency to share this information. The information shared was taken directly from the Department of Homeland Security and NVDMV websites. My job is not to enforce the law or regulations…my job is to keep you traveling!