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With REAL ID still a year away, you have plenty of time – and options

Updated 12 p.m., April 29, 2021
Worried your ID soon won’t fly? Rest easy and stay healthy. You have another year to make sure you’re ready for REAL ID.

Due to the pandemic, the original deadline got pushed back by a year to May 3, 2023. You now have more time to make sure you have what you need to board an airplane or access federal facilities such as military bases.

Our state offers 2 forms of compliant ID: the enhanced driver license (EDL) and enhanced ID card (EID). But there are many options. In fact, you may already have what you need. All the following documents are REAL ID compliant:

  • Permanent resident card (green card)
  • U.S. military ID
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • Foreign passport
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • Border crossing card
  • U.S. citizenship and immigration services employment authorization card (I-766)
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. merchant mariner credential
  • Veteran health identification card (VHIC)

If you want to upgrade your standard Washington license or ID to an enhanced version, you might want to wait. Instead, consider one of the options above. You can get an EDL or EID only by visiting a driver licensing office, and appointments are hard to come by.

We’ve put social distancing and other safety measures in place. This reduces capacity to around 50% at our 38 open offices statewide. The limited number of appointments that open up each day fill up fast. We do our best to ensure that people with urgent needs are able to get an appointment. To make this possible, we’re relying on those with non-urgent needs to find other ways to get by.

Until the health emergency is over, you may find it easier to get a passport or other form of ID that meets REAL ID standards.
If you have a standard driver license or ID and plan to get an enhanced version, renew online now and upgrade later. You’ll only pay for only the difference in cost ($4 a year).

More good news

If your driver license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew it at one of our offices, the Transportation Security Administration will accept it up to a year after expiration.

Even after REAL ID goes into effect, your standard driver license or ID will work for driving within the U.S. or riding a train. You can also continue to access courthouses, Social Security offices, national parks, and health care facilities.

Learn more about REAL ID.