Flying with a REAL ID

Don’t Get Grounded

By now you may have heard the term “REAL ID” and how you will need one to travel. But in case you haven’t, here is a quick backstory.

Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, establishing minimum security standards for federal and state-issued IDs, like your driver’s license or identification card. It is intended to prevent identity forgery and keep potential threats out of airplanes, making travel safer for everyone.

With that in mind, we want to stress two important points:

  1. Real ID enforcement begins October 1, 2020.
  2. To board a flight October 1, 2020 or any time after, you MUST show a REAL ID-compliant form of ID or another form of acceptable ID.

If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be permitted to enter the airport security checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

Don’t get stuck at the airport without proper ID this year! The time to prepare is now.

What does it mean for me?

Because airports are considered federal facilities, REAL ID enforcement could prevent you from passing through airport security and boarding your flight.

Indiana has already begun issuing these new licenses. You have until October 1 of this year to obtain REAL ID-compliant identification.

So, what can you do to ensure you are ready for the REAL ID enforcement deadline? Begin by checking for a star. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identifications have a star icon displayed on the upper right-hand corner on the front of the card.

What the REAL ID Act ISN’T

A REAL ID is NOT a substitute for a passport for international travel. There are also a few other things that REAL ID doesn’t affect.

REAL ID requirements DON’T apply to:

  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Being licensed by a state to drive
  • Entering federal facilities that do not require identification
  • 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 investigation


You can continue to use your regular license or identification for all of the items above without obtaining a Real ID.

Do I need a REAL ID?

Yes! Starting October 1, you will need an ID if…

  • You want to fly with only your state-issued ID
  • You don’t have a passport or another TSA-approved ID
  • You need to visit a secure federal facility, such as a military base, and don’t have a military ID


Probably Not, if…

  • You are under 18 years old
  • You only need your ID for purposes of identification (i.e. to vote, serve on a jury, driving)
  • You don’t mind bringing another TSA-approved ID (like a passport) along when you fly starting on Oct. 1, 2020


To upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, visit a BMV branch in person and bring the required documents. Visit for a listing of documents you’ll need and the latest information.

Customers with questions about REAL ID can call the BMV toll-free at 888-692-6841 and speak with a customer service representative for help or visit any Indiana BMV branch for assistance.