Federal Real ID-Compliant Licenses or ID Cards Will Become Mandatory for US Domestic Air Travel

A heavily criticized federal ID program, Real ID, is set to become mandatory for domestic air travel in the US on May 7, 2025.

Once in effect, the federal scheme will ban adults from domestic flights unless they have replaced “traditional” state-issued IDs with Real ID. And the mandate will also extend to citizens’ ability to access some federal facilities.

The origin of the legislation goes back to 2005 and the REAL ID Act, which was explained by the Department of Homeland Security as standardization of the issuance of ID cards, driver’s licenses, and similar forms of identification.

Starting in the spring of 2025, travelers will no longer be able to use “traditional” driver’s licenses, although passports are an option.