REAL ID Requirement Extended to October 2021
The Department of Homeland Security has annouced an extension of the deadline for obtaining a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. The orginal deadline of Oct. 1, 2020, has been extended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Beginning in October 2021, the accepted forms of identification for boarding domestic flights or for entering most federal facilities will be a current passport, passport card, military ID, or REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license. The standard North Dakota driver’s license is not REAL ID-compliant and cannot be used to board a commercial flight as of October 2021.
The North Dakota DMV is offering residents the option of either continuing to renew their standard driver’s license/ID card or obtaining a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identity card. The REAL ID applicant must appear in person at a DMV office and bring several DMV-accepted documents that verify their identity, U.S. legal residence or citizenship status, and current address. REAL ID-compliant identification is marked by a star on the top of the card. Travelers who are not sure if their ID is compliant should look for a star on their ID or check with the state driver’s license agency.
This new requirement stems from the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which was passed as a Department of Homeland Security measure. It established new standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to improve security by making them more tamper-proof.
For those who plan to fly domestically and don’t have to renew their driver’s license before October 2021, AAA suggests they should get or renew a passport or passport card if they don’t already have a current one. Passport applications and renewal forms are available online and AAA branches offer passport photo services for both members and non-members.
Those who already have passports that were issued no earlier than 15 years ago can usually renew them by mail. However, first-time applicants, those who have lost their passports, or those with expired passports issued more than 15 years ago must apply in person with a completed application, documents and document copies verifying their identity and U.S. citizenship, and a passport-compliant photo.
Some other points to keep in mind:
- A REAL ID is not required for children under the age of 18. The Transportation Security Administration does not require identification for minors boarding domestic flights (a passport is required for both minors and adults for international flights). However, airlines may have identification requirements for minors such as a certified copy of a birth certificate to verify their age in certain situations when the fare is free or discounted.
- A passport is not a substitute for a driver’s license. You still need a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle.
- For more information about REAL ID visit the DMV website. For more information about passports, visit the U.S. State Department website.
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