Pros and Cons of Real Id

real id benefits explained

Real ID enhances security with robust verification processes, providing access to federal facilities and streamlining airport checks. Yet, concerns arise over privacy risks and accessibility hurdles for undocumented immigrants. The application entails costs ranging from $30 to $60, requiring in-person visits and extensive documentation. Despite its advantages in strengthening national security, Real ID poses challenges for certain groups.


  • Real ID enhances security with advanced verification standards.
  • Real ID is essential for accessing federal facilities and secure locations.
  • Real ID streamlines airport security check-ins for air travel.
  • Real ID may pose privacy risks due to data storage.
  • Real ID requirements create barriers for undocumented immigrants.

Enhanced Security Features

With its enhanced security features, Real ID aims to provide a higher level of identity verification for individuals seeking state-issued identification. This initiative was developed in response to the 9/11 Commission's recommendation to set national standards for identification cards.

Real ID-compliant cards require applicants to provide multiple forms of documentation to verify their identity, address, social security number, and legal presence in the country. This stringent verification process helps reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud, enhancing overall security.

Moreover, Real ID cards incorporate advanced security measures such as machine-readable data, anti-counterfeiting features, and unique barcodes that store personal information. These elements make it more challenging to produce fake IDs and easier for authorities to verify the authenticity of the cardholder's identity.

Access to Federal Facilities

Real ID enables individuals to gain access to federal facilities by meeting the stringent identification requirements mandated by the federal government. This enhanced form of identification, which includes features like a scannable barcode and a star marking, provides a higher level of security and verification compared to standard state-issued IDs.

Access to federal facilities is essential for various purposes, such as visiting government buildings, military bases, and other secure locations.

Potential Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns may arise regarding the implementation of the Real ID program due to the collection and storage of individuals' personal information. The Real ID Act mandates the collection of sensitive data such as full names, dates of birth, addresses, and photographic images. This information is stored in state Department of Motor Vehicles databases and shared with other states and federal agencies.

One potential privacy concern is the risk of data breaches. The aggregation of personal information increases the attractiveness of these databases to hackers, potentially leading to identity theft or other fraudulent activities. Additionally, there are apprehensions about the misuse of this data by government entities or unauthorized personnel for surveillance purposes.

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Furthermore, the centralized nature of the Real ID system raises worries about mass surveillance and the tracking of individuals' movements. The potential for mission creep, where the usage of Real ID extends beyond its intended purposes, is also a valid concern.

Safeguards must be implemented to address these privacy issues and protect individuals' personal information from misuse or unauthorized access.

Requirement for Air Travel

The requirement for Real ID for air travel raises significant considerations regarding the necessity for individuals to comply with identification verification processes established by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

This measure aims to enhance national security by ensuring that individuals boarding flights possess valid identification that meets federal standards.

Understanding the implications of Real ID requirements for air travel is essential for travelers to navigate smoothly through airport security checkpoints.

Air Travel Necessity

Identification verification through the Real ID program has become a mandatory requirement for air travel within the United States. This necessity stems from enhanced security measures aimed at safeguarding passengers and ensuring a smoother travel experience.

The following points highlight why Real ID is essential for air travel:

  1. Streamlined Check-In Process: Real ID allows for quicker and more efficient verification at airport security checkpoints, reducing wait times for travelers.
  2. Enhanced Security Measures: By verifying the authenticity of travelers' identities, Real ID helps prevent potential security threats and enhances overall safety within airports and onboard flights.
  3. Compliance with Federal Regulations: The Real ID Act ensures that all passengers boarding domestic flights are compliant with federal identification standards, promoting consistency and standardization.
  4. Facilitation of Travel: Having a Real ID enables seamless travel experiences, as it meets the requirements set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and allows for hassle-free boarding procedures.

Identification Verification Process

Confirming the validity of travelers' identities is a fundamental aspect of the verification process necessary for air travel. When passengers check-in for their flights, they are typically required to present a valid form of identification, such as a driver's license or passport, to validate their identity. This verification process plays an important role in maintaining security and safety standards within the aviation industry.

The identification validation process helps airline staff confirm that passengers are who they claim to be, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities or unauthorized individuals boarding flights. By cross-referencing the information on the identification document with the passenger's reservation details, airlines can ensure that only legitimate travelers are allowed to board the aircraft.

Additionally, the validation process contributes to national security efforts by screening passengers against watchlists and databases to identify any potential threats. This procedure enhances the overall safety of air travel by preventing individuals with malicious intentions from boarding commercial flights.

Impact on Undocumented Immigrants

The implementation of Real ID requirements poses significant challenges for undocumented immigrants when accessing essential services such as healthcare and education. Undocumented individuals may face increased barriers to obtaining identification cards necessary for everyday activities, leading to further marginalization.

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Additionally, the fear of deportation linked with the stringent verification process can deter undocumented immigrants from applying for Real ID, impacting their ability to participate fully in society.

Real ID Requirements

Compliance with Real ID requirements presents significant challenges for undocumented immigrants seeking to access various services and facilities. Undocumented immigrants face the following obstacles when trying to meet Real ID requirements:

  1. Proof of Identity: Undocumented immigrants often lack the necessary documentation, such as a valid passport or birth certificate, to prove their identity.
  2. Proof of Residency: Real ID requirements typically mandate proof of residency, which poses a challenge for undocumented immigrants living in the shadows.
  3. Legal Status: Undocumented immigrants do not have legal immigration status, making it impossible for them to meet Real ID requirements that demand lawful presence.
  4. Fear of Detection: The process of applying for a Real ID may expose undocumented immigrants to the risk of detection and deportation, deterring them from attempting to comply.

These challenges highlight the barriers undocumented immigrants face in obtaining a Real ID and accessing essential services.

Access to Services

Undocumented immigrants facing barriers to meeting Real ID requirements encounter significant limitations in accessing essential services due to their inability to obtain the necessary identification. Without a Real ID or other valid forms of identification, undocumented individuals may face challenges in accessing services such as healthcare, social welfare programs, and banking services. This lack of access can lead to increased vulnerability and exclusion from essential resources that could improve their quality of life.

To highlight the impact on undocumented immigrants, the table below outlines the services that may require identification and the corresponding challenges faced by those without proper documentation:

Service Challenges
Healthcare Limited access to medical care and prescription medications without valid ID.
Social Welfare Programs Inability to apply for assistance programs due to identification requirements.
Banking Services Difficulty in opening bank accounts or conducting financial transactions securely.

Fear of Deportation

Moving through daily life, undocumented immigrants experience a pervasive sense of uncertainty and apprehension due to the looming threat of deportation. This fear significantly impacts their ability to access basic services, seek help when needed, and fully engage in their communities. The fear of deportation creates a constant state of stress and worry, making it challenging for undocumented immigrants to lead normal lives.

Here are four ways in which the fear of deportation affects undocumented immigrants:

  1. Constant Vigilance: Undocumented immigrants must always be cautious about their interactions with authorities to avoid drawing attention to their immigration status.
  2. Limited Mobility: The fear of deportation restricts undocumented immigrants' movements, as they may avoid traveling or attending public events where they fear encountering immigration enforcement.
  3. Healthcare Avoidance: Many undocumented immigrants avoid seeking medical assistance or mental health support out of concern that their immigration status may be revealed.
  4. Educational Barriers: Undocumented students may struggle to focus on their studies and achieve academic success due to the persistent fear of deportation hanging over them.
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Cost and Application Process

The expenses linked with acquiring a Real ID and the involved application process can vary depending on the state in which one resides. Generally, the cost of a Real ID ranges from $30 to $60, with some states offering reduced fees for seniors, veterans, or individuals experiencing homelessness.

The application process typically requires applicants to visit their state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in person, provide various forms of identification such as a passport or birth certificate, proof of residency, and Social Security number. Additionally, applicants may need to complete a Real ID application form and have their photograph taken at the DMV. Some states also mandate applicants to provide documentation of any name changes, such as marriage certificates or court orders.

It is essential for individuals to research the specific requirements and fees set by their state's DMV to guarantee a smooth and efficient application process for obtaining a Real ID.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Real ID Be Accepted for International Travel?

Real ID will not be accepted for international travel. To travel internationally, individuals will need a valid passport. While Real ID enhances domestic security within the U.S., it does not replace the need for a passport.

Can I Use My Real ID as a Passport Substitute?

The Real ID cannot be used as a substitute for a passport for international travel. The Real ID is designed for domestic air travel and accessing federal facilities, but it does not hold the same legal status as a passport.

Are There Age Restrictions for Obtaining a Real Id?

Age restrictions for obtaining a Real ID vary by state but generally require applicants to be at least 18 years old. Minors may be eligible with parental consent. Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for specific requirements.

Will Real ID Be Required for Voting in Elections?

Real ID is not currently required for voting in elections; however, some states may implement voter identification laws that could include Real ID in the future. It is essential to stay informed about any changes in election requirements.

Can Someone Else Renew My Real ID on My Behalf?

In many states, individuals can designate a proxy to renew their Real ID on their behalf, provided the proxy presents appropriate documentation. This process aims to facilitate renewal for those unable to do so themselves.


To wrap up, the Real ID program offers enhanced security features and access to federal facilities, but raises potential privacy concerns and may impact undocumented immigrants.

The requirement for Real ID for air travel further complicates the issue.

The cost and application process are additional factors to take into account when evaluating the pros and cons of the Real ID program.