Real ID


REAL ID

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, If you fly commercially you’ll either need a REAL ID license or ID or another acceptable identity document, or you’re going to be subject to additional screening and potential delay.

Don’t panic! We’re here to help you decide if a REAL ID license or ID is right for you.

WHAT IS THE REAL ID ACT?

REAL ID is a federal act focusing on anti-terrorism, fraud protection, and security specific to the production of driver's licenses and ID cards that control access to

  • Federal facilities requiring identification to enter.
  • Federally regulated commercial aircraft.
  • Nuclear power facilities.

Find out more about the REAL ID Act.

DO I NEED A REAL ID LICENSE OR ID?

REAL ID does not:

  • Invalidate your state issued driver’s license or ID card.
  • Affect using a driver’s license or ID card for usual purposes, such as driving, renting a vehicle, writing a check, purchasing alcohol or tobacco, or entering a casino.

You may not need a REAL ID compliant license or ID card if you

  • Do not fly and do not plan to enter certain federal facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants.
  • Have an acceptable alternative to a state-issued REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card, such as a valid U.S. passport.

HOW DO I GET A REAL ID-COMPLIANT CARD?

Great! You've decided a REAL ID driver's license or ID is the right choice for you. So what's next? Follow these simple and helpful tips below.

Step one  WHAT DOES A REAL ID LICENSE OR ID LOOK LIKE?

Sample of Real ID card

REAL ID card:

  • Looks the same as any other Iowa driver’s license and ID card.
  • Contains the same information.
  • Is made of the same materials.
  • Has the same security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication.

The only difference is that a REAL ID card will have a star verification mark on the front of the card in the upper right corner.

Real ID star

The REAL ID star indicates to officials and employees controlling access to federal facilities that require identification to enter, federally regulated commercial aircraft, and nuclear power facilities that the person holding the driver’s license or ID card established their identity, lawful status or presence, and residence in a manner that complied with the federal regulations. The Iowa Department of Transportation began issuing cards with the REAL ID star on Jan. 15, 2013.

*Reminder: REAL ID only affects use of a state-issued driver’s license or ID card for the purpose listed above (flying and entering specific Federal facilities). Real ID does not affect any other use of a driver’s license or ID card. The lack of a REAL ID star should not prevent use of a driver’s license or ID card for any other purpose.

Minor School License (optional)  HOW CAN I GET A REAL ID LICENSE OR ID?

  • If you decide you need a REAL ID license or ID, you can get one at any time. If your license or ID will expire before October 1, 2020, you can just wait until it’s time to renew and do it then. If you your license or ID will expire on or after October 1, 2020, you can come in to one of our driver’s license service centers (REAL ID not available on online renewal or kiosk) before then and get a replacement license or ID that’s marked as a REAL ID license or ID.
  • Getting a REAL ID license or ID is just like getting your license or ID for the first time. To meet the federal requirements, you will have to bring documents that prove your identity and date of birth, social security number, and Iowa residence and residential address.
  • It doesn’t cost more to get a REAL ID license or ID. If you’re renewing your license or ID, the renewal fee is the same. If you’re getting a replacement, the replacement fee is the same $10 required for any replacement or duplicate license or ID.
  • There are no tests or driving requirements to get a REAL ID license. The federal REAL ID regulations only require that you re-provide your identity, not your driving knowledge or ability. If you already have a driver’s license, you don’t have to take written or driving tests just to add the REAL ID star.
  • You only have to go through the REAL ID process one time. Once we verify your identity and add the REAL ID star, you don’t have to re-apply when you renew your license in the future – we will continue to apply the REAL Id star whenever you renew your license.

*We still don’t know exactly how federal authorities will impose the REAL ID requirements. We have not received any specific guidance on how federal facilities will handle or screen people that don’t have a REAL ID license or ID or another acceptable form of identity, and it may vary from facility to facility. To be on the safe side and make sure you avoid unnecessary hassle or delay, we encourage you to consider getting a REAL ID license or ID before October 1, 2020.

Step two  What documents do I need to get a REAL ID?

How do I get a REAL ID-marked card?

Whether you are getting your first Iowa driver's license or ID card or renewing or replacing an Iowa driver's license or ID card that doesn't have a REAL ID star, the process is the same.

You will need to go to an Iowa driver's service center and present documents that prove your:

  • Identity.
  • Date of birth.
  • Social Security number (or immigration number for persons authorized to be present in the United States but not issued a Social Security number).
  • Legal status or authorized presence in the United States.
  • Residency and residential address in Iowa.

Let us do the work to help you determine the exact documents you need to bring in for your REAL ID. Answer a few questions and we'll do the rest by creating a customized list of the documents you will need to bring with you. You can also review and list of acceptable documents there.

Create your customized list of the documents you will need to bring with you.

It does not cost more to get a card with a REAL ID star and there are no tests required to add a REAL ID star. The REAL ID star does not affect how long the card is valid.

Step three  I have a REAL ID...

Congratulations on getting a REAL ID driver's license or ID. When boarding a plane or entering a Federal facility that requires identification, present your REAL ID card and follow their directions. It's that simple.

Once you have a REAL ID-compliant card, we won't make you bring all of those documents again to renew. Any replacement card or renewal will be issued to you and will include the REAL ID star.

However:

  • If you are a foreign national with temporary lawful status, you must provide proof of lawful status at each renewal.
  • If your name, date of birth, or sex changes, you will have to provide documentation that proves the change. (This is true whether you have a card that has a REAL ID star or not.)