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Are you ready for Real ID?

The Real ID Act of 2005 mandates how states issue drivers licenses and requires states to follow new federal standards in an effort to curb terrorism and prevent undocumented immigrants from driving. Since its passage, the requirements have been enacted in stages—with the last step of implementation set to occur January 22, 2018.

The impact for travelers is this: starting on that date, if your state does not issue a compliant drivers license, you will not be able to use your license as a legitimate form of photo ID necessary when checking in or entering security screening at an airport in the U.S.

Currently, only 26 states and the District of Columbia are in full compliance. The remaining states are operating under a variety of extensions (with expirations coming soon)—only some of which may be given further extensions.

It's important to know if your state is compliant, and what you need to do if your state does not meet requirements by the upcoming deadline.

You will also need to know what documents would be accepted for identification (if your drivers license is from a non-compliant state)—like a military ID, passport or other form.

Here are a few helpful resources.

This article by The Washington Post provides additional information as well as a widget users can hover over to check on their state's compliance.

Visit the Department of Homeland Security FAQ section on Real ID.

Visit the U.S. passport section on the Department of State website for information on the application process.