Passport Processing and Real-ID Mandate
Passport turnaround requires 10-12 weeks. Expedited service takes 4-6 weeks.
- Schedule an appointment at City Hall (895-4656) between 11:00 and 3:00, Monday through Friday. Cancel if experiencing any signs of illness. Masks are required. One or two people or one family are permitted at the counter at one time.
- Applicants requiring travel in less than four weeks should schedule appointments at the Seattle Passport Agency (1-877-487-2778), 300 5th Avenue, Suite 600.
The October 1, 2021 federally-approved ID mandate to access federal buildings, military installations, and TSA checkpoints for domestic travel was moved to May 3, 2023. Alaska residents, 18 and older, will need a Real ID driver’s license, Real ID-compliant identification card, or other accepted federally-approved ID:
U.S. passport book or U.S. passport card
• DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
• U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
• Permanent resident card, aka “green card”
• Border crossing card
• DHS-designated Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or Enhanced non-driver photo ID card (ENDID)
• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
• HSPD-12 PIV card
• Foreign government-issued passport
• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
• Transportation worker identification credential
• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
• U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
*** Note: Drivers and passengers, ages 16-18, may not need ID at airports, but they must carry a federally-approved ID to get through military gates.
What is the difference between a passport and a Real ID driver’s license or Real ID-compliant identification?
Passport books meet federal mandates, plus international travel via land, sea, or air.
Passport cards meet federal mandates, plus border crossings, but not international air travel.
Real ID cards meet federal mandates, but not any international travel.
You must have a driver’s license, but you do not need multiple IDs. Many people purchase both the passport book and the passport card at the same time. Passport cards are more convenient to carry and the passport book can be safely stored and used only for international flights. It costs time and money to apply for a book or card at a later date because it requires attachment of the valid passport (book or card), a current passport photo, added fees, and postage. Adult passports have a ten-year life. They do not need replaced if passport-holder moves, whereas a driver’s license does.
People need driver’s licenses, but not a necessarily a Real ID license, unless it is a commercial driver’s license. Contact the Division of Motor Vehicles (895-4424) or Swift Tag & Title (616-1417) for more information about the Real ID.