New law in new year

Wisconsin DMV urges customers to enroll before federal law changes on October 1, 2020

Release Date: December 18, 2019

When enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins October 1, 2020, the regular Wisconsin driver license or ID will no longer be accepted identification for domestic air travel or to enter a federal building or military base. Travelers will need to present a REAL ID-compliant driver license or state ID card or another acceptable form of identification (such as a passport). TSA offers a list of acceptable alternative identification cards:

Nearly 40 percent of all Wisconsin driver license or ID card holders are REAL ID compliant. Many people may already have another acceptable form of ID (passport, military ID, etc.) or don’t plan to travel before the deadline. Those who don’t have a REAL ID could face longer lines at the DMV as the deadline gets closer. Or worse, travelers will not get through TSA checkpoints and miss their flights.

More people are taking notice. Enrollment in REAL ID is up 22 percent from 2018. In 2019, 54.42 percent of all driver licenses and IDs issued were REAL ID compliant.

“Our customers are encouraged to visit the DMV sooner rather than later. No one wants to miss their flight or meeting because they don’t have the proper identification,” Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Administrator Kristina Boardman said. “2020 will be an exceptionally busy year. We urge anyone who plans to fly domestically or visit a federal building or military base to make plans to enroll in REAL ID well ahead of the October 1, 2020 deadline.”

Wisconsin DMV has more information on REAL ID, including what documents are required, costs, and the handy interactive Driver Licensing Guide which helps customers develop a personalized checklist of the required documents needed to bring to the DMV, at

Next year is also an election year. While Wisconsin requires an ID to vote, it does not need to be a REAL ID. Regular driver licenses or IDs may be used. Anyone unsure if their identification meets the requirements should visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission website to check.

For more information:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581,