By Alex Schuman
New REAL IDs will replace your regular Iowa driver's license starting Jan. 15th, which federal officials hope will make flying a little safer.
It's part of a 2005 law aimed to beef up security at airports. The REAL ID Act requires states to perform deeper background checks on people who want to enter federal buildings, visit nuclear power plants and fly commercially.
"There's no need to panic or rush in," said Mark Lowe, director of the state motor vehicle division. "People have time to make up their mind and come in at their next renewal if that works out."
"If they really feel they need something sooner than they can make that choice on their own," he said.
The only noticeable difference between a REAL ID and your current one is a small star with a circle around it in the upper corner of the card.
There are no added fees and you are not actually required to get one. But the federal government wants everyone under 50 to get an ID by December 1st, 2014.
However, it's unclear what they will do if you decide you're not interested.
"Truthfully, we're still waiting for guidelines from the federal government on how they're going to implement this in the future," said Lowe.
In order to get a REAL ID, you need to bring in the same papers necessary to get your first license.
Local officials think if you choose not to get one, it may take you a little longer to get through security at an airport.
For travelers in some of the several states opposing REAL IDs, they may have to use their passport to board domestic flights.