The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 and set “standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”  The Act set minimum security standards for licenses and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards for certain purposes such as accessing Federal facilities, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft and entering nuclear power plants if they don’t meet the minimum security standards.

The Act doesn’t prohibit the use of other forms of identification, such as a U.S. passport.  Michigan Secretary of State offices offer REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, which are marked with a gold circle with a star inside. Beginning October 1, 2020, Michigan and every state and territory resident will have to present a REAL ID document to fly within the U.S. and certain federal facilities according to federal law.  An enhanced driver’s license is acceptable for federal purposes such as accessing a federal facility or boarding a commercial aircraft. Children under 18 aren’t required by the TSA to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the U.S.

After October 1, 2020 a standard Michigan driver’s license is valid for driving and a standard driver’s license and state identification will continue to be legal identification. However, the words, “Not for Federal Identification” will be printed on the standard license or identification cards. Any driver’s license or identification, Enhanced or Standard, or REAL ID, will be accepted when voting.

To apply for a Michigan REAL ID compliant identification card or driver’s license you have to take your valid U.S. passport or certified birth certificate with a stamp or raised seal or other approved legal presence or citizenship document to any Secretary of State office.  If your name is different than what is on your birth certificate you will need to take a certified name change document with you to the Secretary of State office.

Most U.S. state are already compliant with offering REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. Here is a link to the Department of Homeland Security for more information on REAL ID. The Michigan Secretary of State also has information on how to make your driver’s license or identification REAL ID compliant.

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