Angela Alvig, CPA

The REAL ID Process

Recently Published5 minute readInsights from Tonja

The process to obtain a REAL ID can be quite onerous.  You may have heard stories of 3-week waiting periods, setting alarms for 11:55 p.m. to schedule a desired appointment time, or getting to an appointment only to find out documents were insufficient.

A REAL ID will be required for airline travel starting May 7, 2025, if you wish to leave your passport safe at home. To obtain one you will need to prove your identity, date of birth, social security number, and state residence.  Given the detailed requirements, we have created a simplified checklist to make this process easier. 

In addition, here are some considerations when planning for your REAL ID appointment: 

  • Appointment availability opens 30 days in advance at midnight. The early appointments often disappear by 12:01 a.m. 
  • Filling out a pre-application online will avoid extra time at your appointment
  • When filling out the pre-application, you will need to state which documents you plan to bring to your appointment
  • Social Security cards or other documents may not be laminated
  • If your name has changed, it must be updated with the Social Security administration and reflected on your Social Security card before applying for REAL ID
  • The name on your social security card must match the name as it appears on your proof of identity document or name change document (if applicable).
  • Documents must be in paper form, not digital
  • Documents must be originals, not copies
  • Any documents used to prove your social security number must have all 9 digits showing, not just the last 4, as is quite common
  • If using a pay stub to prove your social security number, some offices require the employer’s phone number as well as the employer’s name and address to be shown on the pay stub 
  • Utility bills or financial statements must be issued within 12 months from the application
  • Only one financial document may be used for proof of residence
  • Cash or check are the only acceptable forms of payment

Our Wealth Concierge team is helping clients make their appointments and gather necessary paperwork to ensure a seamless experience for getting a REAL ID before the deadline. Reach out to me at if you know someone that needs help navigating any difficult process. We are here to help!