Iowa Residents Now Have Until May 7, 2025, not May 3, 2023, to Get a REAL ID Driver's License - In Order to Board Planes

Mark Hake

Iowa residents now have until May 7, 2025, not May 3, 2023, as I previously wrote on Dec. 1, 2022, to get a REAL ID driver's license. That will be needed in order to board a plane in the U.S., without a passport, starting on May 7, 2025.

It also applies to entering certain federal building buildings, nuclear facilities, and military bases.

The reason is the DHS extended the deadline. It's not really clear why they did this, but it effectively gives travelers, including undocumented migrants, an added 24 months to fly in the U.S. without having to meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

That also means it will be 20 years since the law was passed before it goes into effect, all thanks to the latest extension by the Biden Administration.

Here is what a sample Iowa REAL ID driver's license looks like:
Iowa sample REAL ID driver's license.Photo

It shows that there is a gold star - actually a gold circle with a white star - in the upper right-hand corner of the license. There is also a "USA" designation above the white star. These items show that this is a REAL ID license.

In effect, the holder has presented documents to an Iowa DMV office in person that proves U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a valid U.S. passport. Alternatively, the REAL ID holder can present a foreign passport, with a valid visa, and, of course, the holder has not outstayed their visa term time limit.

But in no case will REAL ID documentation allow an undocumented migrant to board a plane. That seems to be the problem that the Biden Administration has with enforcing the REAL ID Act of 2005.

On Dec. 5, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it had extended the deadline to implement the law passed by Congress and signed by the U.S. President at the time. It was enacted as a direct result of the 911 Commission to protect those flying on planes, making sure that there was sufficient documentation showing that only legally allowed people in the U.S. can fly on planes.

What is Required to Get an Iowa REAL ID

First, make an appointment to meet with the Iowa DMV.

Next, check what specific documents you will have to bring. This website will show you what actual documents you will need to bring to the DMV.

In general, here is the list: Choose one of the following

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state of the United States. ("State" includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.) It must be a certified copy bearing the issuing authorities' certification of authenticity. A hospital-issued certificate is not acceptable. A certified birth certificate issued by Puerto Rico must be certified as being issued on or after July 1, 2010.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550, N-570 or N-578)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560, N-561 or N-645)
  • Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), including an I-94 with attached photo stamped "I-551 Temporary Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident" or a foreign passport stamped "Processed for I-551"
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766)
  • Record of Arrival and Departure (I-94) stamped "Refugee" or "Asylee"
  • Unexpired foreign passport accompanied by an I-94 Record of Arrival/Departure

Next, the applicant has to present a valid Social Security Number (SSN), or a pay stub that shows that the holder has a valid SSN.

Finally, the applicant has to show two proofs of residency in Iowa, such as a utility statement, bank statement, or even a valid driver's license that is not a REAL ID license. There are a host of other documents that could apply here as well. Some of these are:

  • Iowa voter registration card
  • Valid Iowa vehicle registration certificate
  • Valid insurance card or certificate of coverage (life, health, auto, homeowners, or renters)
  • Statement from a financial institution (bank, credit union, or other financial institution)
  • Credit, debit, or charge card statement
  • Iowa residential mortgage, lease, or rental agreement (lease and rental agreements must include the landlord's name and contact information)
  • Pay stub

That is not an exhaustive list. A more complete list can be found by following the specific documents website here.

The bottom line is Iowa residents now have until May 7, 2025, to get a 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 as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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