Forms of Identification Required to Access USPTO Buildings

The USPTO instituted new access control procedures that may affect visitors to the USPTO campus effective Monday, August 4. These changes come as part of the federal government's enforcement of the REAL ID Act, which enacts one of the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting those documents for official purposes unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the state meets the minimum standards.

As of Monday, April 21, the following states/territories do not meet the REAL ID standards:

American Samoa
New York

Visitors to the USPTO with state issued identification from these states must present alternate forms of identification to facilitate access. Three of the states listed above offer an enhanced driver's license that is identifiable by an American flag on the license; they are New York, Minnesota, and Washington. The USPTO will accept the enhanced driver's licenses from those states.
DHS currently accepts other forms of federal-issued identification in lieu of a state-issued driver's license, including:

  • Passport
  • Passport card
  • DoD's CAC
  • Federal agency HSPD-12 ID
  • Veterans ID
  • Military dependents ID
  • Trusted Traveler card - Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS
  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)

For visitors using state-issued ID to access the USPTO, only driver's licenses or identification cards from states that meet federal standards will be honored. The USPTO will continue to accept other forms of government-issued identification, including federal employee badges, passports, military identification cards, or enhanced driver's licenses as noted above.

If visitors do not have acceptable identity documents, the sponsor (person to be visited) must provide an escort in order for the visitor to access the USPTO. The visitor must be escorted at all times while in USPTO secured areas.

DHS recommends including the following language in invitations to visit the agency:

The USPTO requires visitors to present government-issued identification for access to its facilities. For visitors presenting a state-issued driver's license or identification card, the USPTO may only accept such documents if they are issued by states that are REAL ID compliant. If the state that issued your license is listed as noncompliant, please bring an alternate form of government-issued photo ID such as a passport or a federal employee, military, or veteran identification card to facilitate access.

For additional information about the REAL ID Act, visit

For more information, contact the Office of Security at 571-272-8000.