See what you need to know about the new REAL ID requirements if you’re flying to Orlando starting May 3, 2023.

Updated April 27, 2021

Live in the U.S.? Plan on flying to Orlando on or after May 3, 2023? Great! But first: Do you have REAL ID-compliant identification?

If the answer to that last question is “no” (or even, “What’s REAL ID?”), it doesn’t mean you have to cancel your trip — but you do need to turn it into a “yes” before you depart. Fortunately, doing so is easy, especially with our guide to REAL ID and other travel requirements. Because one thing REAL ID doesn’t change is our desire to help you have the time of your life in Orlando!

Learn more: New Flights to Orlando

You can also visit with confidence thanks to enhanced health and safety measures at every step at the way, starting at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and continuing on to our ground transportation, resorts, restaurants, theme parks, attractions and more. It's all part of our commitment to being your No. 1 healthy travel destination. Just don't let a lack of REAL ID get in the way of your next visit!

Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified or closed. Learn more about healthy travel and what’s open in Orlando, and check with your favorite attractions for their current status.

REAL ID Requirements for Domestic Air Travel to Orlando

People waiting for a flight at an airport
REAL ID Requirements Take Effect at U.S. Airports on May 3, 2023

Starting May 3, 2023, the REAL ID Act requires that domestic U.S. travelers ages 18 and up must possess a REAL ID-compliant card issued by their state’s driver’s-licensing agency — or an acceptable alternative — in order to fly on commercial aircraft. Acceptable alternatives include U.S. passports, as well as Enhanced Driver’s Licenses (EDLs) issued by Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington.

In other words: No REAL ID or acceptable alternative, no fly! You won’t even be able to access TSA security checkpoints without one or the other, much less get to your plane’s boarding gate. Fortunately, children under 18 will be exempt from this new requirement — if they’re traveling with an adult who has acceptable identification.

To see if your driver’s license or state-issued ID is REAL ID-compliant, check the upper portion. Depending on your state of residency, REAL ID cards will display a gold star, a black star, a gold circle with white star, a black circle with white star, or (in California only) a gold bear with white star. You can see what the markings look like here; refer to the answer for “How do I know if my license or identification card is REAL ID compliant?”

Wondering how to get REAL ID-compliant identification if you don’t already have one? No worries, we can help with that, too!

How to Get REAL ID-Compliant Identification

A customer service person working at an airport and holding a passport
Passports and Enhanced Driver’s Licenses Are Acceptable Alternatives to REAL ID-Compliant Identification

As part of the REAL ID Act, all U.S. states and territories will begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs by May 3, 2023. As of Sept. 5, 2019, 50 different states and territories were compliant — but that still means that some U.S. citizens might not be able to get a REAL ID card until after the new rules go into effect.

To see if your state is issuing REAL ID-compliant cards, check your local driver’s-licensing agency’s website. There, you can find out if your state has the new cards and, if so, how to get one. At a minimum, you’ll need to provide documentation of your full legal name and date of birth (e.g., a birth certificate), as well as your Social Security number, two proofs of principal residence and proof of lawful U.S. status.

If your state won’t have REAL ID-compliant cards in time, don’t panic: Just make sure you have a passport. And if you don’t already have the latter, be sure to start the process early!

U.S. Entry Requirements for International Visitors

A passport, visa and currency
Travelers From Outside the U.S. Need a Passport to Visit Orlando

If you’re traveling to Orlando from anywhere outside the United States, you won’t need a REAL ID-compliant card, but you will need a passport. Depending on where you’re coming from, you might need a visa, too.

If you’re a citizen of a nation that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you’re exempt from presenting a visa — assuming you’ve been cleared through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding. Countries that belong to the Visa Waiver Program include the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Japan and many others.

Otherwise, you’ll need to present a visa, and a nonimmigrant visa at that. Still have questions? Learn how to obtain a visa and get more details about the Visa Waiver Program.

Let Your Adventures Begin

A couple posing for a selfie in front of The Wheel at ICON Park
ICON Park® in Orlando

Once you have REAL ID-compliant identification or a passport, nothing’s stopping you from visiting the country’s No. 1 tourism destination. And believe us, this is one trip you won’t want to miss — especially when you factor in discounted theme park and attractions tickets from Visit Orlando. Buckle up for the adventure of a lifetime in the Theme Park Capital of the World!

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