By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
License to fly
Federal law requires Real ID for air travel
new deh real id artwork.png
Shown are samples of what REAL ID Act compliant Kansas drivers licences look like. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 Kansans, along with all U.S. citizens, wanting to fly will face stricter identification requirements when they take to the skies. A 12-year-old federal law, the Real ID Act, starts going into effect starting next year.

According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, Congress passed the act in 2005 establishing minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards use for air travel and entering federal facilities. It is a joint effort by the states and the Department of Homeland Security to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued ID documents.

The goal is limit fraud and inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fake identification, said KDOC Director of Public Relations Rachel Whitten. It prohibits federal agencies such as Transportation Safety Administration from accepting driver’s licenses and IDs for official purposes from states that are not Real ID compliant. 

Kansas is compliant. State cards affected by the act include non-commercial regular driver’s licenses, commercial driver’s licenses, driving permits, administrative moped licenses, and identification cards.

Kansas compliant cards contain a gold circle with a star in the top third of the card on the front right side. This symbol indicates the card meets the act requirements at airports and other designated federal facilities/uses nationwide.

Kansas non-Real ID compliant cards contain a capitalized “NOT FOR FEDERAL ID” statement printed in the top third of the card on the front right side. This statement indicates that the card is not able to be used as such.

What does this mean?

As of Aug. 1 of this year, Kansans have had the option to choose between either a Real ID card, or a non-Real ID card, Whitten said. Fees for licences and cards remain the same and there is not additional charge for the REAL ID certification.

Kansas residents with a valid Driver’s license or ID card are not required to obtain a Real ID card immediately. Existing valid, non-Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards can be used to board an airplane or enter a designated federal facilities until Sept. 30, 2020.

Also, one can use their existing, valid non-Real ID Kansas Driver’s License or Identification Card to board a plane or enter a designated federal facility only until that date. However, a conceal-carry license is not an acceptable form of identification, nor is a temporary driver’s License printed on thermal paper.

Since 2011, Kansas residents may have presented acceptable Real ID documentation when renewing or applying for a license, Whitten said. These would qualify for a Real ID compliant license or card

But, some may have presented the documentation needed and not gotten the gold star, Whitten said. She advises those renewing their licences to have the needed paperwork with them regardless.

Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, driver’s licenses or state IDs issued by states that are not in compliance with the REAL ID Act and have not been granted an extension by the Department of Homeland Security may not be used to fly within the U.S.

Kansas residents who have a J10 or a J20 restriction (non-resident or temporary resident) printed on their driver’s license or identification card may need to provide acceptable REAL ID documentation on their next office visit.

What’s next?

In order for a Kansas Driver’s License or Identification Card to be printed with the Real ID compliant symbol, a Kansas resident must present original non laminated specific documentation to verify their full legal name, Social Security Number (if issued one) and proof of legal presence in the U.S.

• A valid U.S. Passport or a certified copy birth certificate and non-laminated proof of Social Security number

• Valid Visa

• Valid state of Kansas Driver’s License or Identification Card containing the Real ID compliant symbol

• U.S. passport card

• DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

• U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)

• U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

• Permanent resident card

• Border crossing card

• DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license

• Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)

• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID

• HSPD-12 PIV card

• Foreign government-issued passport

• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card

• Transportation worker identification credential

• Immigration and Naturalization Service Employment Authorization Card (I-766). A SSN is not necessary for temporary driver’s license applicants with non-work status.

Effective Oct. 1, 2020, every traveler will need a Real ID compliant Driver’s License or Identification Card, or another acceptable form of Identification to board an airplane or enter a designated federal facility within the U.S. For more information about acceptable documents for travel, visit travel/security-screening/identification.

For more information about the Real ID Act, visit or