Residents of Delaware will need a REAL ID to board an airplane starting October 2020

Local Press Release
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

WILMINGTON, Del. —  Delaware residents will need a REAL ID compatible driver’s license by October 1, 2020, if they want to use it to get onto a domestic flight, enter certain federal buildings or enter military bases. With that in mind, it is highly recommended that Delaware residents who plan to travel upgrade to a REAL ID driver’s license before the deadline.

Delaware’s REAL ID driver’s licenses have a star in a gold circle in the upper right corner to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.  

The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting October 1, 2020, to board a flight. Delaware residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID if their license does not currently have the star or they can opt to keep their older standard driver’s license. However, a standard credential—without the star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices. A standard driver’s license that is not REAL ID compliant will have the words “Not for Federal Identification” printed in the upper right margin of the license.

To get the REAL ID star, individuals will need to visit their local Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles office in person and bring certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and Delaware residency. Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of Delaware residency, one proof of your social security number (if you’ve been issued one) and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state.

Transportation Security Administration officers who staff the ticket document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID or another form of acceptable ID after October 1, 2020, because of a federal law (The REAL ID Act of 2005) that mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes. REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Travelers will begin seeing new signs at airports nationwide in the coming weeks to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. Critically important, on October 1, 2020, individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

For more information and details about how to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license, enhanced license or identification card in Delaware, visit the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles web site. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles also has a web site for driver’s license general FAQs that is helpful.

TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.