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News / Northwest

WA residents will need REAL ID-compliant identification to fly domestically by May 2025

By Rosemary Montalvo, The News Tribune
Published: May 9, 2024, 1:39pm

If you’re planning on traveling next year, then you need to plan on getting a Real ID-compliant form of identification soon in order to avoid potential inconveniences.

Officials with the Washington State Department of Licensing, Transportation Security Administration, SEA International Airport (SEA), and Alaska Airlines announced in a news release on Tuesday, May 7 that Washington residents will need to have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, identification card or other acceptable document to board a commercial flight by May 7, 2025.

“We want Washington residents to be ready, and this is a reminder that you have one year to look at your identity document options and determine which one best fits your lifestyle,” stated Marcus Glasper, DOL director, in a press release. “You may already have the travel ID you need if you have one of many REAL ID-compliant documents, including Washington’s enhanced driver license or ID card. We strongly encourage residents not to wait and to prepare now.”

So what is an enhanced driver’s license and an enhanced ID card, and why will you need one by May 2025? Here’s what to know.

What is an enhanced driver’s license and an enhanced ID card?

Washington’s enhanced driver’s licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID cards (EIDs) both comply with the federal REAL IS Act that was passed by Congress in 2005 and enacted a “recommendation from the 9/11 Commission that established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards.”

Washington EDLs and EIDs are valid for domestic air travel and can be used to cross the border of Canada and Mexico by land or sea.

“TSA currently accepts multiple forms of photo identification from travelers as part of our identity verification process. We will continue to do so once the federal enforcement of REAL ID begins,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Washington Greg Hawko in the news release. “If you are a traveler who prefers to use your state-issued driver license or identification card, please act now to ensure that your photo ID is REAL ID-compliant. That will ensure that you are ready to travel on or after May 7, 2025.”

Aside from traveling, REAL ID’s, EDLs and EIDs will also be needed to enter certain federal buildings once the federal deadline comes around.

What do documents do you need to get an EDL?

To get a REAL ID, you need one way to prove your identity, two ways to prove your residence and your social security number. The DOL has a toolkit that helps residents prepare for the upcoming REAL ID travel requirements.

Acceptable proof of identity documents include:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Passport documents
  • Resident/citizenship documents, i.e. a permanent resident card, certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship
  • These must be the original documents, not photocopies You can prove your social security number with your social security card

Some acceptable proof-of-residency documents include:

  • Cell phone bill or statement
  • Tribal ID
  • Home utility or service document (bill, statement, hook-up order, etc.) for Washington address (gas, electric, water, garbage, sewer, landline phone, TV, internet, ISTA)
  • Lease or rental agreement
  • Mortgage statements
  • Insurance policy
  • Washington vehicle registration

According to the DOL, you will not need to show your Social Security Card, but you will need to provide your Social Security Number.

How much does it cost?

The cost for obtaining an EDL or EID in the state of Washington varies depending on if you are purchasing a new license or ID or if you are upgrading a current driver’s license or ID.

First EDL card fee: $116 for five years

  • $35 application fee plus a $1 technology fee plus a $16 per year issuance fee

Upgrade current Washington driver’s license to an EDL: $7 to $56

  • $7 per year for the time remaining on your license

First EDL card fee: $96 to $128

  • $96 for six years
  • $128 for eight years

Upgrade current Washington ID to an EID: $7 to $32

  • $7 per year for the time remaining on your license