What’s the Real Deal about REAL ID? 🛫

Week in and week out I bring to life exciting travel destinations and provide interesting travel tips to inspire you to explore our world. And while this newsletter is not going to do that, it is a NECESSARY one if you travel domestically by air and don’t know about the upcoming REAL ID requirements that take effect on May 3, 2023.

If you’ve been to an airport recently, I’m sure you have seen the signs declaring “ID Requirements Are Changing.” In fact, Allan was transiting through the Dallas airport this weekend and look what he saw at his departure date.

What is REAL ID, and why should I care?

REAL ID legislation was passed by Congress in 2005 in response to 9/11 to provide increased security on driver’s licenses and other forms of government photo ID. But as it is with many big government programs, the implementation was delayed and extended several times, and was set to be implemented October 1, 2020. But COVID delayed it again. However, the new deadline is May 3, 2023, when you MUST have a REAL ID compliant credential to board a commercial flight within the United States.

In 48 of the 50 states, including North Carolina, REAL ID is also a compliant driver license that looks and acts just like a traditional license but has a star at the top. Driver licenses and IDs without a gold star are now noted with “Not for Federal Identification.”

Is REAL ID Mandatory?

No, REAL ID is completely optional. You do not need a REAL ID driver license or identification card to do any of the following:

  • Drive
  • Vote
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, etc.)
  • Enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (e.g., a post office)
  • Access a hospital or receive life-saving services
  • Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (e.g., serve on a federal jury, testify in federal court, etc.)

However, a REAL ID will be helpful for anyone who:

  • Boards a commercial airplane
  • Visits nuclear sites
  • Visits military bases
  • Visits federal courthouses, federal prisons or other federal facilities

An individual without a REAL ID or U.S. passport may still be able to board flights or make visits to the facilities mentioned above, but they will have to provide additional documentation along with their traditional license or ID. ​

What do I have to do to get my REAL ID?

The process may vary slightly by state. Here in North Carolina all you have to do is visit an N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office with the required acceptable documentation and it will arrive at your home in 10-20 days:  

  • One document (with full name) proving identity and date of birth
  • One document (with full name and full Social Security Number) confirming Social Security number
  • Two documents (with current physical address) proving North Carolina residency
  • For non-U.S. citizens, one document (with full name) proving legal presence/lawful status
  • If applicable, one or more documents verifying any name change

With just over a year to go before the REAL ID Act is enforced nationwide for air travel, the deadline will arrive before you know it. This time next year people will be rushing to get their REAL ID, and there will be a processing backlog with long wait times. Don’t be caught in the crunch and have it impact your travel.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  -Lao Tzu

As your Travel Advisor, I make sure you don’t miss out on extraordinary experiences that you may not be aware of or cannot get on your own, as they are only available through our exclusive global network of travel partners and suppliers.

I’ll use inside information to arrange behind the scenes tours, secure access into exclusive events, have your tours and excursions scheduled at the best times, provide upgrades and amenities when available and more.

My goal is that you return from your vacation saying, “WOW! That was an amazing experience!”

If WOW is what you’re looking for, let’s get started!

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Hi I'm Lisa, founder of XOOM Tours

And I believe, whole-heartedly, that YOU deserve a travel journey that wows you every step of the way. I’m here to design just that, just for you.


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