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Overview: REAL ID

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal Government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses." The Act:

  • established minimum security standards for driver licenses and ID cards,
  • prohibits Federal agencies from accepting licenses and ID cards from states that do not meet these standards.


Changes effective July 1, 2018

You may have heard of REAL ID

It’s a U.S. law established in 2005, requiring all states to comply with new identification standards for air travel and entrance to some federal facilities like military bases.

Go to to find out if you’re ready for October 2020.

Read our recent Press Release: Department of Licensing to begin new marking on all standard-issue driver licenses and ID cards starting July 1 to help bring state into compliance with REAL ID Act

ID2020 campaign

We have created the ID2020 campaign to educate Washington residents about the REAL ID Act requirements and options. Visit for videos, resources, and an interactive "Are you ready?" quiz.

Changes coming

Starting this year, there are major changes to standard driver licenses and ID cards.

Federal marking

Starting July 1, 2018, all standard cards will be marked with "Federal Limits Apply" to indicate it isn't valid for federal identification purposes. You may continue to use your standard license for boarding airplanes and accessing secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.

Learn more about steps we're taking to comply with the REAL ID act.

New identification card with federal marking and identification number New driver license with federal marking and driver license number

What you need to know about Real ID in Washington State


Rule and status Public hearing or comments
Chapter 308-104 WAC: Drivers' Licenses

Public hearing held May 8, 2018

Public hearing held May 9, 2018

Public hearing held May 10, 2018

Public hearing held May 11, 2018

Public hearing held May 22, 2018

Public hearing held May 23, 2018

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced all Washington state driver licenses and ID cards can be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, under a REAL ID Act ( compliance extension that runs through October 10, 2018.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018, under Legislation signed ( by Gov. Jay Inslee. DHS has said states that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations. Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards are federally approved for entering federal buildings and for air travel under the REAL ID Act.

You'll be able to continue to use your standard driver licenses and ID cards to board all domestic commercial flights until enforcement begins in October 2020. After that, it will become important for Washington travelers to ensure they have acceptable identification, which could include:

Find out more

Washington Healthcare Finder
Good To Go!
Access Washington – official state government website