It's looming in the horizon--the new Washington state REAL ID's go into effect in Fall 2020. As of October 2018, Washington state has been fully compliant with the new REAL ID requirements. When you fly on a domestic plane after October 1, 2020, you will have to prove that you are a legal resident of the United States and that you have a counterfeit-proof identification.

Will you need this new ID to cross state lines? Will children need to get a REAL ID? How much does the REAL ID cost for residents in Washington state? I have all the answers for you!

First of all, what is this new ID all about, anyway?

The REAL ID is something Congress made up back in 2005 so that the government could control identity theft and ward off terrorists. Residents in all fifty states must be in compliance with the law and possess the new identification if they wish to travel by airplane, enter a federal building, or enter a nuclear power plant.

This REAL ID impacts people traveling by domestic airplanes because the industry is managed under the umbrella of Homeland Security, which is, of course, a federal entity. When you board an airplane, you are basically boarding a federal facility, and you'll need the appropriate credentials.

You will notice when you either renew your current state ID or get a new one, it will show whether your license is compliant with "REAL ID" or not.

  • Will you need this new federally mandated ID to cross state lines, or what about if you travel by a train? The answer is no, if you are aren't planning on traveling by plane.
  • How much is it to buy one of these new Washington state REAL ID's? You can expect to pay $78 for an enhanced license and $54 for a standard one. (An enhanced ID is already compliant.) Each REAL ID license is valid for six years. For a list of frequently asked REAL ID questions, click here.
  • Do children under age 18 need to have a REAL ID? The answer is no, but they do need to show the usual proof of citizenship (social security cards, birth certificate, passport, etc.)

To see a list of accepted documents when flying domestically after October 1, 2020, click here.