Can I get a Real ID regardless of where I live?
Real ID-compliant licenses and identification cards are now being issued in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and the majority of U.S. territories. American Samoa is not yet issuing them.
What do I need to get a Real ID?
Each state has a different process for applying for a Real ID, so applicants should check requirements online. New Yorkers can visit a special Department of Motor Vehicles page detailing the process; many other states, including California and Texas, offer similar sites either through their D.M.V. or government portals. In most instances, you can get a Real ID by visiting your local D.M.V., either as part of a standard license renewal or by filling out a special application.
But no matter where you live, to apply for a Real ID or change your license over, you’ll need to provide a Social Security number, prove your address through documents like a utility bill or bank statement, and verify your identify through a handful of additional documents like a birth certificate or passport.
In many instances, there is no additional cost to receive a Real ID if you’re already renewing your license, although some states charge extra — in Pennsylvania, for example, it’s an additional $30 on top of the renewal fee.
If I don’t get a Real ID, can I still fly?
Yes. There are a number of other forms of identification that T.S.A. agents will accept for domestic air travel starting in May. These include a passport, a permanent residency card (also known as a Green Card), or the card for trusted traveler programs, including Global Entry and NEXUS, which allows pre-screened travelers to transit quickly across the United States-Canada border.
In addition, a handful of states — Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Washington and Vermont — offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, or E.D.L.s. Some travelers may prefer to opt for these over a Real ID because they can also be used at some land or sea border crossings. They provide proof of U.S. citizenship, much like a passport, and are equipped with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that can display biographic and biometric data on the owner, including facial image, gender, date of birth and citizenship status, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
E.D.Ls are Real ID-compliant, as well, although confusingly, they do not contain a star in the right-hand corner (they have an American flag in the bottom right corner instead).