Arizona Driver License Versus the Travel ID and Real ID

In 2023, you are going to have to pay closer attention to your travel plans when boarding a plane (or entering a federal building even.) Starting October 1, 2023, all Arizona residents must obtain and present a Travel/REAL ID card in order to travel by air. You can also get a new driver license issued with the Travel/Real ID mark on it. TSA will ground you if you do not show proper and legal ID. Your current Arizona driver’s license will not be accepted after that time.

Also known as the Voluntary Travel ID, this card is a little different than your Arizona driver’s license. The Travel/REAL ID card or mark is compliant with the REAL ID Act that was passed.

Why is this, you might be wondering?
The REAL ID Act was established to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism. REAL IDs are compliant identification cards that make traveling and entering federal buildings safer. The Act was passed by congress in 2005 by recommendation of the 9/11 commission in order to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

Basically, these licenses are more secure and reliable for the citizens of the United States. Many states already have compliant ID cards, but Arizona is one of the last states to make the deadline.

What is the cost of the REAL ID card?
If you plan to travel or enter a federal building, you can get your REAL ID in Arizona right now. The cost is $50 for the ID and will be good for 8 years at a 3rd party MVD location.

When you apply for your REAL ID, you must provide the following:

  • Birth certificate, U.S. passport, passport card, certificate of citizenship or immigration documents
  • Document to confirm your social security number (like a W-2 form or social security card)
  • Proof of residency (bank statement, utility bill, etc.)
  • Smile! Your picture will be taken at the time of application

Keep in mind, you can opt out of a REAL ID and keep your regular state license. Doing this will not allow you to pass TSA and board a plane or enter federal buildings. 

Where can I get the new REAL ID in Arizona?

Most people will default to waiting in long lines at the MVD to obtain a REAL ID in Arizona. The trick to skipping lines is to visit a 3rd party driver’s license provider. Remember, you will need to apply for this license in person, regardless.

Are there other forms of identification that are compliant with the REAL ID Act?

Yes, in fact, you can use a U.S. passport to travel or enter a federal building. There is a list of other forms of identification that are also acceptable under this act. A full list can be found here.

Are other services offered at 3rd Party MVD providers?
Yes! There are many things you can have accomplished at 3rd party MVD providers that will have you saving time and skipping lines.

Here are few services you can receive outside of the MVD:

  • Driver’s License: you can renew your license
  • ID and Duplicate Cards: you can get an ID or a duplicate card
  • Driving Test: take your driving test with no appointment needed
  • Registration Services: have your car’s registration renewed and grab tags for your vehicles, trailers, ATVs, and motorcycles
  • Temporary Permit: get a 3, 30, or 90-day temporary permit
  • Title Service: get a duplicate title, transfer a title and have it notarized
  • Fleet Services: you can open a fleet with 2 or more vehicles and have your fleet registration taken care of

Where in Arizona should I go to get my REAL ID?
You can always go directly to your neighborhood MVD to obtain a REAL ID. However, you can also skip the lines and visit any one of these 1 Stop Title Loans and Motor Vehicle Services locations for your new ID.

  • Phoenix – 16th St. and McDowell Rd.
  • Glendale – 51st Ave and Cactus Rd.
  • Glendale – 43rd Ave and Bell Rd.
  • Gilbert – Cooper Rd. and Guadalupe Rd.
  • Chandler – Alma School Rd. and Ray Rd.
  • Avondale – Buckeye Rd. and 107th Ave
  • Anthem – Gavilan Peak Pkwy and Anthem Way

Bottom Line

If you have any plans to travel by plane or enter a federal building, then you need to obtain a new REAL ID in Arizona. There is no reason to wait until the last minute. You can skip long lines by getting your license right now. You never know when you might take your next vacation or have a family emergency. Don’t get stuck, get your REAL ID right now.