SPOKANE, Wash. — There has been confusion in Washington State about whether a person needs a star on their ID card to board a plane, adding to the list of questions people have about Real ID federal regulations.

Time is ticking away until it will be required to have a federally-compliant ID to board a plane or enter a federal building. The October 1, 2020 deadline is approaching.

Lawmakers set the deadline to allow states time to comply with the Real ID Act. The legislation passed in 2005 called for security enhancements and required identification cards be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States.

Before the Real ID Act was passed, Washington and Idaho were both states that allowed people to obtain ID cards and driver’s licenses without having to show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.

According to Department of Homeland Security, 40 states are currently compliant with federal regulations, this includes Washington and Idaho. Others have been granted extensions.

Real ID Act ID forms

Idaho, along with a number of other states, began issuing identification cards with an image of a star to indicate citizenship has been verified.

Washington is one of the only states that issues IDs which comply with federal law but does not use a star to signify it. Washington’s enhanced identification cards have the word "enhanced" in the top corner of the card and has a small American Flag on it.

A Washington Department of Licensing spokesperson said Washington’s enhanced IDs are federally compliant.

Real ID Act identification symbols

Both Idaho and Washington require certain documents to prove citizenship in order to be issued a federally-compliant ID.

A Homeland Security spokesperson said in an email Real ID compliant IDs vary from state to state. 

Real IDs are not mandatory in either state. Standard IDs will still be issued even after the October 2020 deadline. However, transportation officials recommend people get a Real ID for travel.

There are other forms of documentation that is federally-compliant and will allow you to board a plane such as a passport, U.S. military ID or Green Card. Questions? 

Check out these websites for more information: