The REAL ID Act establishes federal laws governing identification, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The REAL ID Act sets requirements for states and territories relative to the application process for driver's licenses and identification cards as well as when approved identification is required to access certain locations.
Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act requires states to mark issued identification as compliant or non-compliant based on whether or not the state has met the requirements established by the act, as the Department of Homeland Security explains. Specific requirements that states must adhere to include what types of documents are accepted as proof of identification and at what point in the application process the state must take the applicant's picture.
Secure facilities, such as federal buildings, may require a second form of identification if the individual who is requesting access produces a driver's license or identification card from a non-compliant state. A U.S passport is an example of an alternative form of acceptable identification, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
As of 2015, driver's licenses and state-issued identification cards are accepted at airports in the United States regardless of whether or not the issuing state is in compliance with the REAL ID Act. The rule is set to remain in place until at least 2016, as the Department of Homeland Security explains.