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Americans Need New ID’s for Domestic Flights Starting in October

REAL ID-compliant license

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by Leslie Farin

originally posted February 27, 2020
updated January 7, 2021

Important 2021 Update

Due to Covid-19 related issues, the deadline was changed from October 2020-October 2021 to get your “Real ID”

Will your current driver’s license get you past airport security for travel within the U.S. after October 1, 2021? Better check.

Rules for identification for domestic flights change on October 1, 2020.

If you can’t produce acceptable identification, your US airport’s TSA (Transport Security Administration) checkpoint will not clear you for flight. The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for the issuing of state licenses. This act prohibits federally regulated commercial aircrafts from allowing people to board without a “REAL ID-compliant” driver’s license for identification. You can use a US passport or military ID instead, but a driver’s license is convenient and what most of us generally use. I don’t usually carry my passport unless going overseas…I don’t know too many people who do.

How can I get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license?

To obtain a REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license, the US Department of Homeland Security requires applicants show documentation with your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. Some states may impose more requirements.

The Department of Homeland Security reported in October 2019 that 47 out of 50 states are currently REAL ID compliant, up from January of 2017, when only 26 states were compliant. Still, they report only 27% of Americans currently have a REAL ID. Also concerning is that more than half of Americans (57%) have no idea this deadline is coming, said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association, a national, non-profit industry organization according to a recent U.S. Travel survey.

“More than half of Americans (57%) have no idea this deadline is coming

How do I know if my state driver’s license or identification card is REAL ID-compliant?

The easiest way to check if your state driver’s license or identification card is REAL ID-compliant is to see if there’s a star in the upper right hand corner. Some state departments of motor vehicles will confirm REAL ID status online.

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