If you want to take a commercial airline flight beginning October 1, 2020, you'll need a new ID. It's called a "Real ID" and probably looks very similar to your current Iowa driver's license, except for one thing. That yellow star in the upper right-hand corner.

"Real ID's" aren't just an Iowa thing. They're being issued across the entire nation. If you never fly or don't ever enter federal facilities, nuclear power plants, or military bases, you probably don't need one. According to the Iowa DOT,

The REAL ID star indicates to officials and employees controlling access to federal facilities that require identification to enter, federally regulated commercial aircraft, and nuclear power facilities that the person holding the driver’s license or ID card established their identity, lawful status or presence, and residence in a manner that complied with the federal regulations. The Iowa Department of Transportation began issuing cards with the REAL ID star on Jan. 15, 2013.

Don't think you can just walk in and get this ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles, however. You'll need to bring some documents along. Here's what the DOT says you'll need to have:

  • Something that documents your date of birth, identity, and lawful status or presence.
  • Something that includes your current name and Social Security Number
  • Two documents that show your current name and residential address in Iowa.

The Iowa DOT website walks you through the process and lets you select the items you say you'll take with you. It then provides a page for you to print out with that information. You can start HERE. That print out will definitely come in handy when you finally decide to make that trip to the D.M.V.