What is Real ID? Is it a critical means of Verifying Identities?

Still confused about Real ID? You are not alone. The Real ID Act is a federal security regulation that changes identification requirements for United States citizens. It was passed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and is intended to create security standards for verifying identities in order to receive ID cards in the US. US citizens will be required to use a compliant ID in order to travel domestically, enter federal buildings and nuclear power plants under the new regulations.

The deadline for most states to meet compliance was October 1, 2018, although deadlines vary by state. With this deadline come and gone it can be confusing to determine which states are compliant and which are not.

At IDMERIT, we have gathered the latest news about REAL IDs and succinctly compiled it in this post. It is our duty to know the latest in ID trends in order to provide the best and most accurate identity verification services for our clients. With the information outlined in this blog post, you will be able to determine if the ID you are using is compliant with federal standards.

real id

Which States are Compliant

More than half of all US states are compliant with Real ID. This list has grown since we last wrote about the topic since many states have been working diligently to meet requirements. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the list of compliant states and territories includes:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Washington

Issues Verifying Identities that Noncompliant States Face

All the states that are currently not compliant with federal regulations have been given an extension. These states all face a variety of different challenges causing them to receive an extension on compliance.


Alaska is required to meet Real ID requirements by October 1, 2020. The state DMV began issuing Real IDs on January 2, 2019. One of the biggest issues Alaska faces is how they will issue IDs in communities without local DMV offices. They do not have a solution yet, but are actively working on finding a resolution that works towards meeting federal compliance.

2. American Samoa

The American Samoa has an extension for Real ID compliance until October 10, 2019.

3. California

The deadline for Real ID compliance in California has been extended until January 10, 2019. One of the issues California has faced is that its process for producing Real IDs has been deemed federally noncompliant. The state asked residents for one document to prove state residency, while the federal government requires two. This was determined after the state had already produced 2.3 million Real IDs through the noncompliant process. The federal government will allow California residents with a Real ID to be considered in compliance without having to get a new one. When the ID expires, residents will have to show a second residency document in order to renew their Real ID. In April 2019, the state will switch to a new protocol for creating Real IDs that meets federal standards.

4. Guam

Guam has until January 10, 2019, to meet federal Real ID compliance. It began issuing Real IDs to its residents in June 2018. Enforcement for Real IDs will begin October 2020.

5. Illinois

Illinois is required to be compliant with the Real ID Act by June 1, 2019. It will begin issuing Real ID cards to residents in the spring of 2019. The state will begin to be enforced by DHS in October 2020.

6. Kentucky

Kentucky has received an extension for Real ID compliance until August 1, 2019. The state will begin issuing Real ID compliant ID cards in early 2019. Real ID enforcement begins in October 2020.

7. Maine

Main has until October 10, 2019, to meet Real ID compliance. The DHS will not begin enforcing Real ID until October 2020. Main has had difficulty implementing the systems and procedures needed to issue Real IDs. They plan to start issuing the compliant IDs on July 1, 2019.

8. Missouri

Missouri has until August 1, 2019, to become Real ID compliant. The state expects to be fully compliant with Real ID by March 2019. The DHS will begin enforcing Real IDs in October 2020.

9. Montana

The deadline for Real ID compliance in Montana is June 1, 2019. It plans to begin offering Real ID cards to state residents early in 2019. Enforcement for Real IDs begins in October 2020.

10. New Jersey

New Jersey has until October 10, 2019, to become federally compliant with Real ID standards. Nevertheless, the DHS will not enforce the Real ID Act until October 2020. The state will begin issuing the compliant IDs in the spring of 2019.

11. North Mariana Islands

The Northern Mariana Islands have until June 1, 2019 to comply with the Real ID Act.

12. Oklahoma

Oklahoma has until October 10, 2019, to become Real ID compliant. The state is actively working toward full compliance with the Act. States must meet 43 requirements to be considered compliant. Oklahoma is fully compliant with 30 requirements and partially compliant with 12.

13. Oregon

The deadline for compliance is October 10, 2019 in Oregon. The state expects to become fully compliant in July 2020 when their DMV begins using a new internal system.

14. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will begin issuing Real ID cards to residents starting in March 2019. The state has spent over $24 million in order to prepare issuing the ID cards. Pennsylvania has allowed residents to pre-register for Real IDs in two ways.

In the first, residents with IDs issued after 2003 will be able to pre-apply for a card since verifying identities of these residents is easy. Their proof of address is already on file with the state Department of Transportation. Over 200,000 Pennsylvania residents have already taken advantage of this opportunity.

In the other, residents with IDs issued before 2003 will be able to pre-register by proving their identity through an original certified copy of their birth certificate, valid passport, social security card, marriage license or order from family court. They will also have to provide two proofs of current address such as a valid driver’s license and a bank statement or utility bill less than 90 days old. 30,000 residents have applied for Real IDs this way so far.

15. Rhode Island

Rhode Island has until May 1, 2019 to become federally compliant with the Real ID Act. It began offering the compliant IDs to state residents in December 2018. Enforcement of the ID will begin on October 2020.

16. US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands must comply with the Real ID Act by April 1, 2019. The DHS will begin enforcing Real IDs in October 2020.


Most states are actively working to meet Real ID compliance by federally mandated deadlines. Furthermore, DHS does not plan to start enforcing Real ID with residents until October 2020. This gives state residents plenty of time to either register for a Real ID or obtain another form of identification to use for travel, enter federal buildings and nuclear power plants, such as a federal passport. Verifying identities is critical for the security of the US. Real ID helps the US do this and protect the US from harm.

Alex McGinness
Alex McGinness

Alex is passionate about making the world a better place. She believes she can change the world, and one way she can do that is by helping businesses grow online through digital marketing. She excels at branding, graphic design, web design, social media management, and content writing. Alex finds the most success when she is working with companies that produce services or products that make the world a better place. She enjoys working with a collaborative team that is organized, goal-oriented and harmoniums. At IDMERIT, she manages their digital presence online as their in-house marketing coordinator. Her goal is to showcase the IDMERIT brand as a leader in global identity verification services.

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