Summer travel season is here and soon folks from Dallas, Austin, and Houston will be heading to the airport to board that big tube that flies to take them to the Rocky Mountains, Disney World, Maine, LA, and thousands of other places to create some summer memories.

While your regular Texas driver's license will get you through TSA and on the plane this summer, that might not happen next year.

Is your license missing one key icon?

If your driver's license does not have that gold circle with the star in the middle you'll be denied access to the airport terminal and TSA will not allow you to get to your gate and you will miss that final boarding call to your destination.

Beginning May 7, 2025, your ID must be REAL ID compliant.

Your Texas ID may be a REAL ID already. Take a look at your driver's license, if it has a gold circle with a star on it, you're set and there's nothing else you need to do, you're good to go. If not, you have until May 7, 2025, to renew your license to become compliant or you'll be denied access to airports, even some federal buildings.

When did REAL ID become a thing?

A few years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, Congress passed a law in 2005 establishing 'minimum security standards for license issuance and production', according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, to combat the threat of terrorism. The law has been around for nearly two decades.

The law was originally slated to go into effect in 2020, but many states had challenges meeting this deadline and it was pushed back to 2021, but the pandemic caused issues and now the DHS has set the firm date of May 7, 2025.

How do you obtain a REAL ID?

Stop into any Texas DMV office and ask for a new REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card. You'll need some additional information or paperwork:

  • One document that establishes identity, date of birth, and proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residence, or other lawful U.S. status. A birth certificate will suffice for most people.
  • Your Social Security number (card not required) or evidence of SSN ineligibility.
  • Two documents to establish proof of residence in the state you're getting the ID for, such as a utility bill, paycheck stub, or mortgage payment.

One important thing to note is, that your REAL ID-compliant driver's license is not a replacement for a passport, which you'll need for international travel, including those cruises you go on and any trip to Mexico or Canada.

The silver lining for most Texans, whether you realize it or not, is you're most likely REAL ID compliant already because most licenses issued by the State Of Texas have had that golden circle with the star on it since 2016.

If you need more information on REAL ID use this site to get you the assistance that you need.

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