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Real ID Act Information

What is the Real ID Act?
In response to acts of terrorism committed against the United States, and in an effort to ensure the safety of citizens, Congress passed the REAL ID Act of 2005. The REAL ID Act is implemented through federal regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Real ID Act promotes security in the issuance of licenses and identification cards, and deters identity theft and fraud by requiring all states to meet certain physical and procedural security standards for production and issuance of Driver’s Licenses (DL) and Identification Cards (ID).  The Act also requires certain documentation standards, including authentication and verification standards for proof of identity, date of birth, Social Security number, residence, and lawful status or presence.
Why do I Need a Real ID Compliant License or ID Card?
Access to certain federally controlled facilities (federal laboratories, military bases, nuclear power plants) or activities (flying on commercial aircraft) requires a DL or ID issued by a state determined to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act.
Do I need a Passport in order to Board a Plane?
Not at this time, a New Mexico driver’s license or identification card is considered a valid identification document that can be used to board a plane.  However, starting in October 2020, you will need a Passport if you possess a standard drivers's license or identification card or a Driving Authorization Card driver's license or identification. If you have a REAL ID (look for the gold star in the right corner), you will not need a passport to board a plane. The REAL ID is sufficient on it's own to enable you to board a plane. For more information, see the TSA's website at

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