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ST. LOUIS – The new REAL ID enforcement deadline is still seven months away. Missourians are urged to prepare for the new federal requirements.

Travelers throughout the United States must have an updated ID card or driver’s license to have access to certain federal facilities and get on domestic flights by May 3, 2023. The Missouri Department of Revenue began offering REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards on March 25, 2019.

More than 1.6 million REAL IDs have been issued since then.

“The REAL ID enforcement deadline is approaching fast, and we want Missourians to be prepared,” Wayne Wallingford, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, said. “If you’ve already decided to get a REAL ID, don’t wait to apply; gather your documents and head to your local license office. If you’re still unsure, the Department has a variety of resources on our website that can help you make an informed decision.”

Missouri-issued ID cards and REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses have a star in the upper right-hand corner. Licenses or ID cards that are noncompliant with REAL ID will have “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES” in the upper right-hand corner.

Below, are things that should be known before the deadline and commonly asked questions about REAL ID cards from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Who will need a REAL ID?

Under Missouri law, applying for a REAL ID is your choice, and is not mandatory. However, all U.S. residents will soon be required to present a REAL ID in order to enter nuclear power plants, access federal facilities, and board federally regulated domestic flights. If you plan on flying in the future but do not want to apply for a REAL ID, you can present another acceptable form of ID such as your U.S. passport.

A noncompliant license or ID card is, and will continue to be, acceptable for verification of driving privileges, verification of age, voting and registering to vote, state purposes and other purposes not limited by the REAL ID Act.

What documents do I need to obtain a REAL ID?

To apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card, Missourians will need to submit valid, original documents verifying their identity, lawful status, Social Security number, proof of residency, and official name change if needed. For a full list of acceptable documents, click here. Anyone wishing to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card must notify the person assisting them at the start of their transaction.

When will REAL ID requirements start being enforced?

Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline to ease the burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. REAL ID will now be enforced starting May 3, 2023.

Where can I apply for a REAL ID?

Residents can apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver license or non-driver identification card at one of Missouri’s several contract license office locations. The transaction and processing fees for a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card, new or renewal, are the same as for a license or ID card that is noncompliant with REAL ID. Detailed fee information can be found here.

Why are these changes being made?

The REAL ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission recommended the federal government set new standards for the issuance of identification in an effort to achieve enhanced security.

For more information about REAL ID enforcement, click here.