REAL ID Deadline is Close, Here's What Texans Need to Know

All Texas driver's licenses and identification cards are currently valid forms of identification for federal purposes.

Homeland Security sign for REAL ID
Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Appointments to obtain a State ID or Driver's license are being booked for weeks and in some cases, months in advance so it is important to note that the deadline is approaching to obtain the federally mandated REAL ID-compliant card.

Starting May 3, 2023, you’ll need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license with a gold star, a valid passport, or U.S. military ID to travel by air in the U.S. 

If your card does not have the star, you can continue to use the card after May 3, 2023, but it will only be accepted for state-related purposes such as driving (driver's license only), banking, and voting. It will not be accepted as identification for federal purposes.

Here is what we know about the program.

Getting a REAL ID in Texas

To get a REAL-ID compliant Texas driver's license or ID, you need:

  • An original or certified copy of a Birth Certificate or an unexpired U.S. Passport Book or Card
  • Social Security Card
  • Current Texas Vehicle Registration or Title
  • Current Car Insurance Policy or Car Insurance Statement
  • If your name changed, legal documents showing proof of name change from your birth name

The following documents will be accepted for Proof of Identity and Citizenship:

  •  Photo Texas driver's license or Texas identification card, unexpired or expired within the last two years
  •  Valid, unexpired U.S. passport book or U.S. passport card
  •  U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization with identifiable photo (N-550, N-560, N-561, N-570, N-578)
  •  Unexpired U.S. military identification card for active duty, reserve or retired personnel w/ identifiable photo

You can apply for a new REAL ID-compliant Texas driver's license or ID in person at a Texas Department of Public Safety office or you may be eligible to renew your existing Texas driver's license or ID online.

You can still use your current, unexpired Texas driver's license or ID to drive and for non-federal ID purposes. When it’s time to renew your driver's license or ID, you’ll get one that is REAL ID-compliant.

Will I receive a renewal notice?

All Texas driver's licenses and identification cards are currently valid forms of identification for federal purposes.

If your card expires after May 3, 2023, and you want a REAL ID-compliant card, you can request a duplicate card either in person or through Texas.gov. If you have been issued a card on or after October 10, 2016, and see a gold star in the upper right-hand corner, you already have a REAL ID Act-compliant card, and no further action is required on your part.

If you received your renewal notice in the mail, be sure to take the required documents that are listed in your renewal notice. If you did not receive a renewal notice, are obtaining a replacement, or are not sure what to take with you, use REAL ID Document Check Application to assist in preparing you for your Driver's License office visit.

What happens after May 3, 2023?

If your driver's license is still valid, you may continue to use it for non-federal purposes, such as operating a motor vehicle, voting, or banking.

You will not be able to use it for federal identification purposes, such as boarding domestic flights or entering secure federal facilities, after May 3, 2023.

If you attempt to present a non-compliant Texas driver's license or identification card after May 3, 2023, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or other federal agency responsible for security will determine whether to permit you access/entrance or subject you to additional screening as prescribed by that agency.

To determine if you are eligible to renew online or need to obtain a replacement card, visit www.texas.gov.

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