REAL ID goes into effect next year

TENNESSEE – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reminds Tennesseans that in one year, the REAL ID Act of 2005 will go into effect. Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, individuals seeking to enter certain federal buildings, nuclear facilities, military bases or to board commercial flights within the United States will be required to have a REAL ID compliant license or acceptable alternative identification such as a valid United States passport or military ID to gain entry. 

The REAL ID Act of 2005 establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.

Who needs a REAL ID? Anyone who flies domestically within the United States, seeks entry to a military base, nuclear facility or certain federal buildings after Oct. 1, 2021 and plans to use a state- issued license or ID as a form of identification.

Is a REAL ID the only form of identification that will be accepted? A REAL ID is not the only form of identification that will be accepted. A valid U.S. passport or military ID are other common forms of identification that will be accepted in place of a REAL ID. A full list of other acceptable alternative forms of identification can be found here.

What documents are needed to apply for a REAL ID? To apply for a REAL ID, Tennesseans must provide one proof of citizenship or legal presence, one proof of their full Social Security Number and two proofs of Tennessee residency along with documentation to support any name change from your proof of citizenship document. A full list of accepted documents can be found here.

Where can you apply for a REAL ID? The first application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Services Center or participating County Clerk Partner. Participating locations can be found at

How much is a REAL ID? A REAL ID costs the same as a standard credential. However, if you wish to obtain a REAL ID outside of your renewal period, there will be a duplicate charge of $8-12.

What if you don’t need a REAL ID? Those who do not wish to obtain a REAL ID will receive a standard credential indicated by “Not for REAL ID Act Purposes” on the front of the credential. Your current or standard credential will continue to be accepted for general identification purposes such as driving, purchasing alcohol or tobacco products, applying for federal benefits, voting and access to hospitals, banks, post offices and federal courts.

Where can I find more information about REAL ID? Tennesseans can find more information about REAL ID at or

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is to serve, secure and protect the people of Tennessee.

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