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Texans will soon be required to obtain the federally mandated REAL ID-compliant card, this is what it means

In light of the fact that appointments to obtain an ID or driver’s license are being scheduled weeks, and in some cases months, in advance, it is imperative to stress that the deadline for obtaining the federally mandated REAL ID-compliant card is rapidly approaching.

U.S. air travel will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license with a gold star, a valid passport, or a U.S. military ID beginning on May 3, 2023.

If your card does not have the star, you will still be able to use it until May 3, 2023, but solely for state-related functions such as driving (driver’s license only), banking, and voting. It will not be accepted for federal identity purposes.

Here is what we know about the program.

Getting a REAL ID in Texas

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

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
  • 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

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

You may continue to use your current, valid Texas driver’s license or identification card for driving and non-federal ID purposes. When it is time to renew your driver’s license or identification card, you will receive a REAL ID-compliant card.

Will I receive a renewal notice?

Presently, all Texas driver’s licenses and identification cards are legitimate forms of federal identification.

If your card expires after May 3, 2023, and you need a REAL ID-compliant card, you can acquire a replacement card in person or online at Texas.gov. If you were granted a card on or after October 10, 2016, and it has a gold star in the top right corner, you already have a REAL ID Act-compliant card and no further action is required.

If you have received a renewal notification in the mail, be sure to bring the documents requested in the renewal notice. Use the REAL ID Document Check Application if you did not receive a renewal notice, are obtaining a replacement, or are unsure of what to bring to your Driver’s License office appointment.

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 driving, voting, and banking.

After May 3, 2023, it will no longer be valid for federal identification purposes, such as boarding domestic aircraft or entering secure government facilities.

After May 3, 2023, if you attempt to present a non-compliant Texas driver’s license or identification card, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or another federal agency responsible for security will determine whether to allow you access/entry or subject you to additional screening as prescribed by that agency.

Visit www.texas.gov to check if you are eligible to renew your license online or if you need a replacement card.

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