The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ramping up a public awareness campaign about Real ID requirements that will go into effect for air travel Oct. 1, 2020.
Originally passed by Congress in 2005 and postponed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) many times since, DHS now says it has no plans to extend the deadline any further. Starting Oct. 1 next year, travelers will not be able to board a flight without a driver’s license that meets the Real ID security standards or another valid alternative such as a passport or global entry card.
The Real ID rollout has been bumpy in the states, with a handful of states resisting a federal security standard for state driver’s licenses and citing privacy concerns about storing documents required to prove residency, such as birth certificates. Most states have begun issuing Real ID-compliant licenses and DHS granted a handful of other states extensions but has been firm that they must comply this year. Four states – Oregon, Oklahoma, New Jersey and Maine – are still not issuing Real ID licenses as of now.
Even in those states where Real ID licenses are issued, people in those states who have not had to renew their licenses yet are not necessarily aware of the rapidly approaching Real ID deadline. Adding to the confusion is the fact that a Real ID is not required to drive a car, only for clearing airport security and boarding a plane starting next October.
“If you don’t get it done as early as possible, everybody’s going to be rushing at the last minute and we don’t want somebody to get in a situation where they come to the airport ready to fly on vacation and then suddenly they can’t get through,” Tomas Cuellar, TSA transportation safety manager, told CBS News this month.
Real ID-compliant licenses are generally marked with a star located in the upper corner of the license. The documents needed to obtain a Real ID license at the DMV vary from state to state, but generally a resident will need to show their Social Security card, birth certificate, another form of government-issued identification such as a passport, as well as proof of residency. For more on Real ID requirements, click here.