Does anyone know when we are actually going to need the new REAL ID?

For anyone that has been on a flight over the last few years, signs are posted everywhere regarding the new "REAL ID" that will be needed for future travel. However, due to the pandemic, the deadline to acquire a REAL ID continues to change. So when do travelers actually need to have one?

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So what exactly is a "REAL ID?" Well, according to

Michigan residents will need to present a REAL ID-compliant document to fly within the United States and enter certain federal facilities to comply with federal law. REAL ID requirements ensure the secure production and issuance of licenses and IDs to prevent copying or altering.

The Real ID Act began on May 11th, 2005, and has been confusing people with continuously changing deadlines ever since. Initially, travelers were given the deadline of January 22nd, 2018 to acquire their REAL ID to allow them to board federally-regulated commercial aircraft. However, that deadline has been pushed back multiple times.

Sometimes it feels like no one is on the same page when it comes to REAL ID deadlines. For example, as I was searching out different flights for an upcoming trip to Las Vegas, one of the apps I was using clearly stated that travelers needed their REAL ID by May 3, 2023 (the app still states this as of 3/8/23.) Obviously, that made me worry as I am flying out later that month.

As I dug deeper into the matter, I found out that the deadline has been pushed back yet again. As of now, the REAL ID requirement will take effect on May 7, 2025, as announced by the Department of Homeland Security in a December 2022 press release. So those traveling in the upcoming months can relax.


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