Real ID is really confusing.
Real ID at Airport Security
Credit: Getty Images

When the federal government announced that all states would have to comply with new identification standards for their residents to fly across the country, some immediately sprung into action. But there are many other states that still haven’t worked towards federal compliance.

There are currently only 24 states whose residents don’t have to worry about using their driver’s licenses to fly within the coming years.

For the rest of the country, there are multiple confusing deadlines, questions and legislation that are — quite literally — all over the place.

Here are the latest updates for everyone in those 26 states.

And remember: Even if your state isn’t compliant with the deadline, a passport will work at the airport just fine. (Here's how to apply if you don't have one.)


Starting January 2018, residents of Maine, Missouri, Minnesota and Montana will need alternate identification to fly within the U.S.

Maine’s Secretary of State announced that the state hopes to begin issuing compliant IDs over the summer of 2018, but during the early part of next year, licenses are not enough to fly. Missouri passed legislation to issue new IDs this week, although it is unclear when they will begin producing compliant identification.

Montana allows residents to choose a compliant ID for an additional $25 when their current license expires.

Minnesota has not passed legislation to comply.

Limited extension

Eight states — Alaska, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington — have until June 6, 2017 until federal agencies stop accepting their current IDs.

Kentucky will begin offering residents Real ID-compliant licenses in mid-2019. South Carolina’s new licenses will be available at the end of this year or beginning of 2018. Oklahoma will start issuing compliant IDs within about two years of signing a contract with a vendor. The states have applied for extensions.

Alaska, Pennsylvania and Washington are advancing legislation but have not yet finalized any. Oregon and Virginia have no legislation for compliancy.


Thirteen more states — California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Texas — have through October 10, 2017 to comply with new identification standards.

Residents of Louisiana, New Hampshire and North Carolina can apply for a compliant ID now.

There is legislation in the Idaho senate, Illinois Senate, North Dakota governor’s office to become compliant.

There are no updates from California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Texas.