Real ID is delayed again: Here's the new deadline and how Arizonans can get one

Michael Salerno
Arizona Republic

Anyone who was scrambling to get a Real ID before the May 2023 deadline can breathe easy: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the enforcement date by two years.

The federal Real ID Act will now take effect for Arizonans (and residents of 36 other states) on May 7, 2025, the Homeland Security Department announced Dec. 5.

When the requirement takes effect in 2025, people will need to show Real ID-compliant identification to board aircraft and enter secure federal buildings.

Real ID was supposed to take effect on May 3, 2023. Homeland Security officials cited lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on states' abilities to ensure their residents have driver licenses or identification cards that meet Real ID standards. They said progress was stalled because of licensing agencies' need to work through pandemic backlogs.

The deadline’s 2023 approach has prompted many Arizonans to update their licenses Real IDs, according to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Arizona has issued about 1.7 million Travel IDs including 202,559 in 2022, ADOT spokesman William Lamoreaux said. June was the best month for Travel IDs this year, with 40,611 issued.

More:Real ID deadline delayed (again). What it means across the U.S.

What does a Real ID look like?

Voluntary Travel ID

ADOT issues the Travel ID and standard driver licenses. The difference between the two is the Travel ID contains a gold star on the upper right hand corner.

When Real ID takes effect, standard licenses with no gold star will no longer be acceptable identification for domestic flights. People without the upgraded license will need to present another form of Real ID-compliant identification.

"While the Travel ID is not required in Arizona, it may be a more convenient choice than having to carry an additional form of ID, such as a passport," said Lamoreaux.

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How to get a Real ID in Arizona

Arizona residents may use ADOT's Motor Vehicle Division website at to gather their documents and make an appointment to apply for their Travel ID.

People who do not have an Arizona driver license must visit an MVD office or authorized third party driver license location with the required documents. They also can schedule an appointment by going to and selecting "MVD Processing Center" from the dropdown menu.

Real IDs cost $25.

A passport is a Real ID:How to get — or renew — a passport or passport card in Arizona

Real ID requirements

To get an Arizona Travel ID, ADOT requires one primary document for proof of birth, two documents for proof of address and a Social Security number.

Acceptable documents for proof of birth include:

  • Certified birth certificate.
  • U.S. certificate of birth abroad.
  • U.S. passport or passport card.
  • Permanent resident card or resident alien card.
  • Unexpired USCIS employment authorization document.
  • I-94 form with an unexpired foreign passport and unexpired U.S. visa.
  • U.S. certificate of naturalization.
  • U.S. certificate of citizenship.

Acceptable documents for proof of address must be issued from a business, organization or government agency and include your name and residential address. Documents must be in print. These include:

  • Utility bills.
  • Credit card or bank statements.
  • Insurance policies.

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What else counts as a Real ID?

In addition to Real ID-compliant state-issued driver's licenses or identification cards like the Arizona Travel ID, the Transportation Security Administration lists these as acceptable forms of identification for domestic travel:

  • U.S. passport.
  • U.S. passport card.
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents.
  • Permanent resident card.
  • Border crossing card.
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License.
  • An acceptable photo ID issued by a federally recognized tribal nation/Indian tribe.
  • HSPD-12 PIV card.
  • Foreign government-issued passport.
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card.
  • Transportation worker identification credential.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766).
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner credential.
  • Veteran Health Identification Card.

Children under 18 don't need Real ID to fly within the U.S., as long as they're accompanied by an adult who does have Real ID, Lamoreaux said.

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How airports are preparing for Real ID

Nationwide, airports are educating flyers about the need to have a Real ID before May 2025.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has signs in its terminals and alerts on its website and social media pages urging travelers to be ready.

"We strive to ensure that our customers have easy access to the information and to our staff to assist with any of their questions," airport spokesman Frankie McLister said.

Reach the reporter at Follow him on Twitter @salerno_phx.

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