Iowa residents will need REAL ID-compliant identification to fly beginning October 1, 2020

Local Press Release
Monday, October 7, 2019

DES MOINES - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa’s airports today held a press conference at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) to remind Iowa residents that starting Oct. 1, 2020, travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant form of identification to board a flight at DSM and all U.S. airports. Signs are currently posted at all Iowa airports reminding travelers of the October 1, 2020 deadline.

Iowa has been issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards since January 2013. To determine if an Iowa driver license is REAL ID-compliant, look for the cutout of a star in a gold circle in the upper right-hand corner of the license.

“A year from today, all passengers flying out of DSM and airports around the country will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID to board a plane,” said John Bright, TSA Iowa federal security director.

Travelers who do not have a REAL ID may use another form of acceptable documentation, such as a valid passport or military ID. For a complete list of acceptable IDs, go to A REAL ID also will be required to gain access to secure federal facilities, including military bases, nuclear facilities and some federal offices starting Oct. 1, 2020.

“We want to make sure Iowans are prepared for this change and plan ahead by getting the REAL ID marking on their card before October of next year. However, it’s important to note that not everyone will need a REAL ID. If they don’t plan to use their state-issued card to fly or enter a federal building they don’t need to worry about getting one,” said Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT director.

To get a REAL ID marked card, Iowans will need to visit any Iowa driver’s license or ID issuance location and bring documents that prove their identity, social security number, Iowa residency, and proof of legal name changes - if their name is different from the name on their identity document. To build a list of documents to bring with you, visit

If an Iowan’s card is up for renewal before Oct. 1, 2020 or they don’t plan to fly commercially or enter a federal building, they can simply wait until it’s time to renew and receive a REAL ID marked card at no additional cost. However, if their license or ID is not up for renewal and they need a REAL ID marked card, they can bring the necessary documents in and receive the REAL ID marking for the $10 cost of a replacement card.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act complies with the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints. The regulations established the deadline of October 1, 2020, to ensure full enforcement of the REAL ID Act. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

More information and Frequently Asked Questions on REAL ID can be found at