REAL ID at Fermilab

The REAL ID Act is a U.S. federal law that includes requirements for accessing certain Federal facilities, including non-public areas of Fermilab. The details below are important and should be reviewed closely.

Fermilab REAL ID implementation

Fermilab has established a process to implement REAL ID by July 1, 2021, in compliance with the Act. Access to public areas will remain unchanged. Fermilab will be validating REAL ID-compliance of all Fermilab badge holders. Beginning July 1, 2021, access to non-public areas will be allowed only to Fermilab badged personnel. People without Fermilab badges will not be authorized to access non-public areas.

A list of REAL ID-compliant forms of identification can be found here – and includes a U.S. or foreign passport – and a map of Fermilab’s public areas can be found here

View a list of Real ID documents and examples of Real IDs here.

What Employees need to do

  • Employees hired after January 1, 1987 have REAL ID compliant information on file which will be used as REAL ID verification by Fermilab.  If information is missing, you will be contacted by WDRS.  Otherwise, no action is needed regarding badging.
  • Employees hired at Fermilab prior to January 1, 1987 will need to have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification validated by Fermilab by June 30, 2021. WDRS will be contacting you directly in March to provide specific instructions.

What Users, Subcontractors, Authorized Guests, Scientist Emeritus and Retired Guests need to do

All users, subcontractors, authorized guests, scientist emeritus and retired guests requesting physical access to non-public areas of the Batavia or South Dakota sites must submit a document to the Users Office (for users) or Badging Office (for subcontractors, authorized guests, scientist emeritus and retired guests) that is REAL ID-compliant as part of the badging process, as follows:

  • Fermilab users, subcontractors, authorized guests, scientist emeritus and retired guests who have provided a passport to obtain a badge will not need to do anything different regarding badging.
  • Beginning April 1, 2021, people who are holding a badge that expires after September 30, 2021, and have NOT provided a passport or other REAL ID-compliant form of identification will be notified and will need to present a REAL ID-compliant form of identification to the Users or Badging Office by June 30, 2021.  Notices will be sent our from April to June 2021.
  • For all badge renewals, beginning on April 1, 2021, people requesting a new badge or renewing an expiring badge must provide a REAL ID-compliant form of identification, which includes a U.S. or foreign passport.
  • Badge validity will be granted through the requested period only if a REAL ID-compliant form of identification is provided during the badging process.  If a REAL ID-compliant form of identification is not provided, the validity of the badge will be through June 30, 2021.

Frequently asked questions

If you have questions you want added to this page, please send an email.


The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The Act requires that Federal agencies view compliant identification for accessing certain Federal facilities, including non-public areas of Fermilab and boarding commercial aircraft. 

The Act goes into effect on May 3, 2023. To comply with the Act, Fermilab is taking certain actions now, including relating to its badging process for employees, users, authorized guests, scientist emeritus, retired guests and subcontractors.

All employees, users, visitors, authorized guests, scientist emeritus, retired guests and subcontractors who access non-public areas of the Batavia or South Dakota sites will be impacted. Visitors to Fermilab who visit only public areas will not be impacted. Public areas include: the Lederman Science Center, the site’s walking/bicycling paths, portions of building 327, the lobby area of Aspen East and specific portions of Wilson Hall – the Wilson Hall atrium, portions of the 2nd floor, portions of the ground floor, portions of the mezzanine, Ramsey Auditorium and the elevators.

A valid passport is REAL ID-compliant identification. If you do not have a valid passport, visit the Department of Homeland Security for more information on REAL ID-compliant identification: can also obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID. You will need to go in person to present documentation to verify who you are and where you live in order to obtain a REAL ID. Visit your state driver’s license agency website. Learn more about Illinois state requirements for obtaining a REAL ID– compliant driver’s license here: 

Several states are compliant with the REAL ID Act. Check for the star; generally a star indicates the license qualifies as a REAL ID. You can also visit the Department of Homeland Security website for more information:  In addition, a valid passport is a REAL-ID compliant form of identification.

Site access

Any person at Fermilab requesting use of space by non-badged people needs to complete the Facility Request Form approval process. If space is needed that is not designated as a Public Area, the approval process will initiate a process with the FV&A Office and Security Department to ensure the space is correctly designated public for a specified amount of time according to the Fermilab Site Security Plan. We strongly encourage that rooms be reserved in Public Areas for events that include non-badged individuals.

Fermilab employees and subcontractors working at the LBNF Far Site location in South Dakota will follow the same requirements as employees and subcontractors in Batavia. Fermilab employees are currently compliant with REAL ID and their Fermilab badges authorize them access to the DOE leased spaces. LBNF subcontractors must present REAL ID-compliant credentials at the time of badging. DOE leased space is only occupied by Fermilab-badged employees or subcontractors.  Additional signage will be needed after the construction phase is complete.


All commercial air travel originating or terminating in the United States will require passengers to present REAL-ID-compliant identification starting on May 3, 2023. A Fermilab badge does not satisfy the REAL ID requirement for purposes of commercial air travel. Visit the Fermilab travel site for more information (must be on the Fermilab network). Learn about flying with a REAL ID at and and Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints and will not be allowed to fly. 

Yes, you will still need REAL ID-compliant identification beginning May 3, 2023. 

Beginning May 3, 2023, every domestic or international commercial air traveler arriving to or departing from the U.S. must present REAL ID-compliant identification. Individuals who are not able to present REAL ID-compliant identification will not be permitted to enter TSA airport checkpointand will not be permitted to fly. 

At this time, TSA does not accept mobile or electronic driver’s licenses. 

Fermilab employees

You will be asked to provide a REAL ID-compliant identification prior to July 1, 2021. You will be notified by WDRS directly with specific instructions.

You will be notified by WDRS directly if you require documentation.

You are required to wear/display your Fermilab badge while on site.

Badged Fermilab users, subcontractors, authorized guests, scientist emeritus, and retired guests

This could be relevant for users who won’t visit the lab in time to provide REAL ID compliant documentation to renew their badge, but still need to use our computing facilities.

The user will continue to have remote access. The lab requires real ID compliant identification only if the user needs to be on site.

If you are required to show REAL ID-compliant identification as part of the Fermilab badging process, you will be notified by WDRS directly with specific instructions. 

No, you must present original documentation.

Nothing at this point, and additional documentation may not be required. Someone will review your profile and notify you directly if further documentation is required.