You don’t need a star on your American Samoa driver’s license to fly today, but you will. Residents of American Samoa must obtain their REAL IDs by May 3, 2023. After that, federal agencies will no longer accept identification cards and driver licenses issued without stars on them for passengers older than 18

This is an extension from the original October 2021 date due to the COVID pandemic. 

Department of Homeland Security’s Alejandro Mayorkas recently stated, “Extending the Real ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a Real ID-compliant license or identification card.” 

The ASG Office of Motor Vehicles has stated that those without a star on their cards can continue to use their cards after May 3, 2023, but they will only be accepted for state-related purposes like driving, accessing hospitals, visiting the post office, applying for or receiving social security or veterans’ benefits, or banking transactions. For federal purposes, this identification will not be able to be used.

Not everyone in American Samoa has a passport, especially if they don’t travel internationally. For domestic flights, a state-issued document like a driver’s license is all you need to fly. 

However, according to a law called the REAL ID Act, air travelers in the United States will be required to use a driver’s license that complies with the Real ID requirements when traveling within the United States of America and the territories in the US jurisdiction beginning May 3rd, 2023.

Other documents that people will be able to use are their passports or their U.S. Military cards. Most people use their license to get through security on domestic flights though.

This law means that your driver’s license MUST comply with TSA’s requirements for you to fly domestically. A complying license will have a star on it. Does yours?   

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Here is a great video on it from the Department of Homeland Security

Additionally, a REAL ID will be required to enter federal facilities in addition to the current identification requirements.

This is one of the new minimum security standards that will be used in federal buildings as well. As such, your domestic flight in the US will require a REAL ID.

Current status of American Samoa’s REAL ID Compliance: Under Review

Currently, American Samoa is under review for REAL ID enforcement. It is the only US territory that is not fully compliant yet. But they are still encouraging citizens to get their documents together and use them when renewing their driver’s licenses. 

Here is a document the ASG has put out as a resource for citizens of American Samoa.

Do you need a star on your license to fly into American Samoa?

Yes, a star will be required for anyone traveling after May 3, 2023, in the 50 states, the US-controlled territories, and American Samoa. The star indicates that your license has been certified as compliant with Federal REAL ID standards by the Department of Homeland Security. 

As of May 3rd, 2023, at least one REAL ID compliant credential or another form of identification will be required for domestic flights on commercial airlines in American Samoa.

You can contact the Office of Motor Vehicles for more information. Click here to find the OMV office in American Samoa. Their phone number is +1.684.699.9188

What is the REAL ID Act?

It is a federal law that requires states to issue driver’s licenses and ID cards that meet minimum security standards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and ID cards issued by states that don’t meet those standards.

It states as of May 3, 2023, REAL IDs will be required to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities.

Your Real ID Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card will be marked with a star in the top right corner or will have an American flag on it or the word “Enhanced” to indicate it qualifies for use as federal identification.

If your current identification card or license doesn’t qualify, so long as it hasn’t expired, it will be accepted until May 3, 2023. 

Do I need a REAL ID card in American Samoa?

Yes, they will be mandatory as of May 3, 2023, for international travel or domestic flight or to enter a secured federal facility. Until then you can use your current driver’s license or card that you have been using.

Do I have to get a REAL ID in American Samoa? 

Getting a REAL ID is not mandatory but is encouraged.

A REAL ID is optional and is not needed for the following:

  • Receiving Federal benefits
  • Driving a car
  • Accessing or entering hospitals and health clinics, law enforcement, or accessing court proceedings
  • Voting
  • Entering Federal facilities that do not require identification

Do you need a REAL ID to travel to American Samoa?

Yes, American Samoa will begin to require the use of a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state identification card starting on May 3, 2023, for those traveling with commercial airlines. A REAL ID is indicated by a black or gold star in the upper right-hand corner of the ID, driver’s license, or another appropriate form of identification.

The U.S. Congress introduced the REAL ID Act in 2005. It was one of the security measures put in place in the wake of one of the most significant attacks against the United States of America on its land, 9/11.

It is meant to set minimum standards of security for identification documents issued. These documents include identification cards and driver’s licenses.  

From May 3, 2023, you will need a black or gold star on your driver’s license or ID card for federal agencies such as TSA to board a federally regulated commercial aircraft. This will be the acceptable form of federal ID and ensure they are REAL ID compliant.

Have more questions?

USA Federal Resources

If you have additional questions, the Department of Homeland Security has a great FAQ here.

Additional information can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s site here: state compliance and state implementation

You can also contact the Transportation Security Administration: 866-289-9673

American Samoa Resources

To view information from The Office of Motor Vehicles website including time-saving tips, licensing locations, documentation requirements, fees, and other helpful federal and state resources please click HERE

Do I need a REAL ID to fly to American Samoa in 2022?

No, you do not need a REAL ID to fly to American Samoa in 2022. You will need one to fly there after May 23rd, 2023. So it is best to look into what you need to get your REAL ID. 

We have a detailed page for every state and US territory with all the information and links to your local resources here on Travelonthefly. Check em out. 

Related: Do You Need A Black Star On Your Nothern Mariana Islands Driver’s License To Fly?

Related: Do You Need A Star On Your Driver’s License To Fly?