Post-9/11 "Real I.D." laws in the U.S.A. say that driver's licenses issued by states cannot be used for "federal identification" unless they have certain enhancements, for which one must bring in a birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship when applying for the license; thus when boarding a commercial passenger flight, one must use something else, such as a passport.

The application form for a Canadian passport says "You need to provide at least one document to support your identity. The identification document (ID) must be valid and must be issued by a federal, provincial/territorial government authority (or local equivalent abroad)." My "local equivalent abroad" is the state of Minnesota, where my driver's license says "NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION". Will those words impair the license's utility for this purpose?

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    The enforcement of REAL ID has been postponed until 7 May 2025. I have no idea whether the Canadian agency that processes passport applications will take the notation on the license at face value or look more deeply. When applying for REAL ID it is not necessary to prove US citizenship; legal presence in the US is enough. Feb 14 at 23:24
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    I would be very surprised if Canada requires your ID to be Real ID compliant. Certainly my "not for federal purposes" New York license is valid identification with any New York agency.
    – phoog
    Feb 16 at 18:01
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    @GerardAshton the notation on the license simply means that it cannot be used in (certain very specific) US federal contexts. It does not purport to remove the identification function from the document in any other context, and the federal government even accepts non-Real-ID licenses in contexts other than those specifically mentioned in the Real ID law.
    – phoog
    Feb 16 at 18:04
  • @phoog : The question is not really whether they have some rule saying it has to be Real ID-compliant, but rather whether it would set off alarm bells in the mind of someone looking at the application who didn't understand the statement and its context. Feb 24 at 19:22


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