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The deadline for Real ID registration to fly is approaching. Here’s how to get it

The deadline for Real ID registration to fly is approaching. Here’s how to get it
The deadline for Real ID registration to fly is approaching. Here’s how to get it

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If you’re heading to the airport during the busy and popular summer travel season, don’t forget to bring your driver’s license or other government-issued ID to get through security.

And if you haven’t yet replaced your old, basic driver’s license or ID card with an official Real ID, don’t worry; you can still fly for now. But starting this time next summer, you’ll need a Real ID to board domestic flights, enter government buildings like military bases, or enter nuclear power plants.

After years of being pushed back and extended, the current deadline to get the Real ID card is May 7, 2025. Although that date is still months away, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has encouraged people to apply for the new card in a timely manner to avoid a rush of customers on the deadline.

How to get a Real ID

If this is your first time applying for a Real ID, you must apply in person at a full-service Driver Services Center, even if you already have a regular Tennessee driver’s license or identification card. You can schedule an appointment to save time.

What documents are required for Real ID?

Remember to bring the required documents, such as proof of your U.S. citizenship, proof of your full Social Security number, and two proofs of residency. (If you changed your name when you got married, be sure to bring your marriage certificate, even if it was many years ago.) All documents must be original or certified and cannot be photocopies.

Real ID vs. regular ID

A Real ID driver’s license looks similar to a regular driver’s license. The main difference is the star in the top right corner of the Real ID.

The Real ID is considered a government-recognized form of identification.

Why the new regulations?

The new regulations were introduced in the Real ID Act, which sets the minimum security standard for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The law was the result of a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission. Under the new regulations, anyone 18 years of age or older will need a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, Real ID driver’s license, or TSA-approved ID when flying domestically.

For a list of required documents and other up-to-date information on obtaining a Real ID in Tennessee, visit tn.gov/tnrealid.

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