Real ID vs Passport

I keep seeing news reports reminding people who want to travel that they will soon “need” a Real ID vs a typical driver’s license, but I’m assuming the passport that we have always used will still work anywhere we want to go domestically or internationally, right?

If one has a passport, there’s no need for a Real ID? Or what am I missing?

Yes a passport (international & domestic) or a passport card (domestic) will work for air travel. I renewed my DL license online this time so I’ll deal with the Real ID stuff next round.

Real ID was extended until sometime in 2023. Done at DMV.

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May 3, 2023 for PA.

Yes, a passport is valid identification.

As you noted, a Real ID-compliant DL is needed in place of a regular DL, if that’s what you use for ID when flying. But there are numerous alternatives.

I renewed my driver’s license in February of 2020. I remember because my hair stylist is next door and it was the last hair appointment I had for quite awhile! I brought in the necessary documents and got my star. Real ID.

But when my husband’s DL needed to be renewed in September, the bureau was only open by appointment and he had the option to renew by mail. So he did but it’s not a real ID.

I’m very happy that it was decided to postpone this requirement but my husband has a passport so he can use that.

When we finally decide to fly again that is.

So our family should be able to totally skip the Real ID? (Since we have passports.)

Correct. Have one or the other or both if you choose.

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We all have passports, but we also got Real IDs in California when it was time to renew our drivers licenses.

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Sheesh, I have an appointment at DMV tomorrow morning to renew my license. I could have done it online, but to get Real ID you have to go in person. So I figured, “Might as well get it done”. I already have a passport, don’t plan on flying anywhere anytime soon, and now I read that the timeline is extended. Ugh. Why am I even bothering!!!

We actually can’t (for now) get real ID verification on our PA licenses, unfortunately- though we have PA licenses, we have a MN address and they didn’t know what to do with that. We have our military IDs as real IDs until hubs retires, and then we will get real ID licenses when we settle somewhere and have to trade in our PA licenses anyway.

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Because you got an appointment and you can get it over with.

You do know that in our state, you could have done this at AAA…by appointment I think now too. That’s where I always renew my license…and they do Real ID.

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Is there any reason to have both other than if you don’t want to travel domestically with your passport? (something we’re ok doing and have been doing anyway)

I imagine most would want to drag their passports around with them as little as possible.

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You can use Real ID (with a star) on your DL, passport, military or government ID if that ID has an expiration date. I asked at TSA once if they’d take it (left my purse in the taxi with my DL, but the government ID was hanging around my neck as I’d just come from a meeting) and the TSA guy said “Of course” but the real answer was no, as no expiration date.

Once you get the star, most states will renew with another star even if you renew online.

In my experience, California issued the license with an expired passport, but Florida would not. Colorado issued my Real ID based on the star on my Florida license…but I’d also had a Colorado license in the past.

It isn’t only to get on airplanes, but you need a Real ID to get into fed government buildings, including court houses, and on military bases.

Last time I got my passport renewed, I sprang for a passport card also. Figuring I could use that as real id on a domestic flight (also, as backup in case of a stolen or misplaced passport). I would not go out of my way to get a real ID driver’s license at this point. When the time comes to do a renewal and the MVC or DMV is running at a good capacity and can get me one easily, then I will get one.


It was easy enough to get a Real ID when I renewed my license last year. Our passports stay safely put away unless we are traveling. If I need to enter a federal office building, courthouse, etc., my license will be with me, won’t have to think about bringing a passport.

That’s the thing, if you’d rather use a passport than get a Real ID license, you have to remember your passport if you have to go to a federal building. I’m sure most people don’t go often if they aren’t living in DC, but it will be like masks - you meant to bring that mask (passport) and have no objection, but just forgot.

It would stress me out to have to remember and keep track of a passport for domestic travel. Plus, my license expires this year, so I’ll get my real ID.

One thing that can be a very inconvenient surprise about passports it that for travel to most countries, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months past your return date. In other words, your passport actually expires six months before the printed expiration date.

I was barred from a flight to Ireland for this reason until a different airline employee overheard the fuss and told us that Ireland has an agreement with the US that travelers do not need an extra six months of validity in order to visit. It was not fun, and it easily could have been a country that did require the six months.

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I guess my question to someone would be, if you have to renew your license anyway, why not get the Real ID? I renewed my license in person in September - got the Real ID. Not a big deal you just needed a couple extra paperwork items and I didn’t get the hard copy ID upon leaving - they gave a paper to carry around with you to act as your proof of license and the Real ID was mailed within a couple weeks.

I also did not want to have to carry a passport around for domestic travel.

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