Visiting the USPTO Without a REAL ID


As announced on the “USPTO Locations” page of its website, the USPTO has implemented a new policy for members of the public visiting the USPTO relating to the REAL ID Act. Under the REAL ID Act, the USPTO may no longer accept driver’s licenses from certain states and instead will require an Enhanced Driver’s Licence or Federal-issued identification to grant access to secured areas of the USPTO. This means that members of the public visiting the USPTO for an examiner interview or board hearing may need to bring their passports with them.

State Driver’s Licenses That Do Not Meet the REAL ID Standards

According to the USPTO website, as of April 21, 2014, the following state driver’s licenses do not meet the REAL ID Act standards:

American Samoa
New York

Visitors from these states will be required to present alternate forms of identification, such as an Enhanced Driver’s License (available from New York, Minnesota, and Washington) or a Federally-issued identification such as a passport or passport card, Veterans ID, Military dependents ID, or Trusted Traveler card (Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS).

According to the USPTO notice, if a visitor does not have an acceptable form of identification, the USPTO person being visited will need to provide an escort and ensure that the visitor is escorted at all times while in USPTO secured areas.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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