Do Real IDs Peel? What You Need to Know

Understanding the construct and durability of your Real ID is crucial since it is a valid form of identification required by federal laws for domestic flights and entering certain government facilities. A common question among holders of this ID is regarding its physical durability, specifically, whether or not Real IDs have a tendency to peel over time. This concern is valid, given the importance and frequent use of these IDs.

What is a Real ID?

Before diving into the crux of the matter, it’s essential to grasp what a Real ID is. A Real ID meets the federal standards set by the Real ID Act of 2005, which was enacted post-9/11 to increase security measures. Starting from May 3, 2023, travelers aged 18 and older will need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification to fly within the United States.

Construction of Real IDs

Real IDs are crafted to be durable and tamper-resistant. They are made from layers of high-quality material designed to withstand the usual wear and tear associated with identification documents. These IDs incorporate several security features to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, and duplication. The production method of these IDs ensures that layers are bonded together tightly, reducing the likelihood of peeling.

Do Real IDs Peel?

The question of whether Real IDs peel is not straightforward. Under normal circumstances and with proper care, a Real ID should not peel. The materials and manufacturing methods used to create these IDs are selected to ensure longevity and resistance to damage. However, like any physical document, exposure to extreme conditions, rough handling, or prolonged use can lead to wear and tear, including the possibility of peeling.

Maintaining Your Real ID

To minimize the chances of your Real ID peeling, it’s advisable to handle it with care and keep it in a protective sleeve or wallet when not in use. Avoid exposing your ID to harsh conditions such as direct sunlight, high temperatures, and moisture, as these factors can cause the materials to degrade over time. Proper maintenance can significantly extend the life of your Real ID.

What to Do if Your Real ID Peels

If your Real ID starts to peel, it’s important to address the issue promptly. A peeling ID may not be accepted as valid identification. You should contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the equivalent issuing authority to inquire about a replacement. Be ready to provide necessary documentation and possibly a fee for the replacement process.


While Real IDs are designed to be durable and resistant to peeling, they are not indestructible. Proper care and handling can prevent most damage, including peeling. In the event that your Real ID does start to peel, taking quick action to replace it will ensure that you remain compliant with federal identification requirements without interruption. Always remember, preserving the integrity of your Real ID is not only about maintaining its physical appearance but also about ensuring the security features remain effective and intact.