Deadline requiring Real ID driver’s license now six months away
Sample REAL ID license

DES MOINES — The deadline to get your driver’s license upgraded to a Real ID has changed a couple of times, but it now is set for May 3rd of 2023.

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Kayla Burkett says it’s a change designed to make travel easier. “The real ID is a federal government requirement. The marking here in Iowa is a gold star in the upper right hand corner,” she says. “That will give the ability for Iowans to do air travel and or enter any federal building.” Burkett says you can upgrade your driver’s license by making an appointment at a DOT service center, and bring in some documentation.

“You need a proof of identity, which is usually a birth certificate. Or if you do have a valid passport, you can bring in an unexpired passport. You need proof of a social security number, so social security card, or any document with your full social security number on it, such as a W-2 or maybe a 1099 form,” Burkett says. She says you also need to prove your residency with two pieces of mail that include your name and address. And if your last name is different than the name on your identity document, you would need to provide proof of name change. The DOT website has a list of documents needed.

Burkett says the process to check the documents and issue your Real ID license will take around 15 minutes. She suggests those who have a license that is expiring gather all the documents and make the change when their license is renewed. “If they are not expired and they need to get that real ID before the May 3rd –yes, they can go ahead and set up an appointment and there will be a $10 charge to make that change,” she says.

Burkett says a majority of Iowa drivers have already taken the steps to get the Real ID star on their license. “We have just over 63% of Iowans have a Real ID today — just over one-point-six million,” she says. Burkett says with six months to go, there’s plenty of time to get the Real ID to make it easier to fly.

“According to TSA, anyone flying after that May 3rd date will be able to present other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport. They have they have additional items listed on their website that will also work, but you will be required to provide additional forms of ID in order to fly,” Burkett says. She says the lag time for scheduling an appointment at the DOT centers is about two weeks. They do accept walk ins — but you will have to wait a little longer than those who have an appointment.

Burkett says the DOT’s county locations each does things a little differently — with some requiring an appointment — and some that don’t.