Iowa's Countdown until May 3, 2023 - Deadline to Get a REAL ID Driver's License to Fly on a Plane Then

Mark Hake

Iowa's Dept. of Transportation (DOT) says Iowa residents have until May 3, 2023, to get a REAL ID driver's license. That is what is needed to fly commercially or enter a federal building then. They have a countdown webpage indicating that there are now just 152 days until May 3, 2023.

The Iowa website says:

"If you fly commercially or need access to federal facilities, you’ll either need a REAL ID license or ID or another acceptable identity document, or you’re going to be subject to additional screening and potential delays."

In addition, the site says, "it can take up to 21 days to receive your REAL ID in the mail, so please plan ahead."

Here is what the REAL ID Iowa driver's license looks like:
Iowa REAL ID driver's license.Photo byIowa DOT

This shows that the Iowa REAL ID driver's license has a gold circle and star in the upper right-hand corner. That signifies that the holder has completed the documentation requirements at the Iowa DOT to qualify for the REAL ID.

This license will allow Iowa residents to fly commercially starting May 3, 2023, without having to show a passport, passport card, or military ID to get past TSA screening. It also applies to entering federal buildings with security (i.e., not post offices) and military bases and nuclear facilities.

This is part of the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005 and the implementation by the Dept. of Homeland Security. You do not need a REAL ID to vote or get federal assistance, including Social Security or Veteran's benefits. It also does not:

  • Invalidate your state-issued driver’s license or ID card.
  • Affect using a driver’s license or ID card for usual purposes, such as driving, renting a vehicle, writing a check, purchasing alcohol or tobacco, or entering a casino.

However, the gold star in the upper right-hand corner shows security personnel at federal facilities and airports that the Iowa resident has established their identity, lawful status or presence, and residence in a manner that complied with federal regulations. The Iowa Department of Transportation began issuing cards with the REAL ID star on Jan. 15, 2013.

How To Get an Iowa REAL ID Driver's License

If your license or ID will expire before May 3, 2023, you can just wait until it’s time to renew and do it then. If you your license or ID will expire on or after May 3, 2023, you can make an appointment to come to an Iowa DOT license office.

To get the REAL ID license you will have to bring documents that prove your identity and date of birth, social security number, and Iowa residence and residential address.

It costs the same as a renewal fee for a renewal driver's license. The replacement fee is the same $10 required for any replacement or duplicate license or ID.

Remember also, that it could take up to 21 days to get the license in the mail. Keep in mind that you only have to go through the REAL ID process one time. You don’t have to re-apply when you renew your license in the future in Iowa. There are no tests or driving requirements as well.

Don't Procrastinate - Don't Wait Until May 3, 2023

Starting in 2023, there could be long lines or difficulty scheduling an appointment as people begin planning their spring vacations. They may realize then that they need a REAL ID to upgrade their Iowa driver's license.

That means that now is a good time to go to the Iowa DOT to schedule an appointment to get a Gold star REAL ID driver's license.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at,,, and as well as TalkMarkets.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks and wealth, financial, and economic issues. He previously ran his own hedge fund and investment research firm and is presently Chief Strategy Officer for Foldstar Inc. and

Phoenix, AZ

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