Back in 2005 when a little known law passed by Congress on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission called the Real ID Act, would cause so many problems for travelers 15 years later. The act modifies U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for state driver's licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism. This new law was a response and action born out of the tragedy that the US suffered on 9/11. If it had been in place at that time, the terrorists would never have been able to pass through security and board the planes that destroyed the twin towers.
The implementation of the Real ID began in January of 2018 and beginning October 1, 2020, the Real ID Law will be enforced across the country in every state. In order to board a domestic commercial airline flight, enter a secure Federal facility (an airport is one example), military base or a nuclear power plant, everyone will need Real ID-compliant licenses or other forms of federally-acceptable identification, such as a U.S. passport. Much like a license, travelers will need to show airline personnel and TSA screeners their Real ID driver’s license or passport each time they check in, even for a domestic flight. To date all states are compliant with the parameters of the Real ID act with 4 states requesting extensions for compliance.
So with the deadline looming expect longer times in the security lines to get through TSA. The Transportation Security Administration has instituted a new policy requiring its agents who check photo IDs at airports to advise travelers without Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses that they have just 13 months to get one. Those travelers now can expect a short spiel from the TSA agent at the check-in podium, which includes explaining the rules and advising travelers on where they can get more information.
The TSA has warned that if travelers don’t comply, it could lead to even long lines confusion and extra waiting time at airports come October 2020. Signs at airports have been in place since April. Other acceptable forms of ID are a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, a valid passport or U.S. military ID. But most travelers use their state-issued driver’s license.
Q: What forms of ID will be acceptable to to board a domestic flight, access a Federal facility of a nuclear power plant?
A: A state issued Real ID Driver’s License, Passport, or valid military ID.
Q: What do I need to do to get a Real ID Driver’s License?
A: Make an appointment (recommended) to visit a DMV field office.
Provide proof of identity, such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
Present proof of your Social Security number, such as an SSN card, W-2 or paystub with full SSN.
Show proof of residency in your state through documents such as a rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill or employment, medical or school document.
An original or certified copy of a name change document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, may be required.
So with the deadline for compliance only 13 months away, don’t wait to secure a Real ID. In 2018, 778 million people boarded planes to fly domestically in the United States. It is difficult to provide an exact figure on just how many people in the US have complied with obtaining a Real ID or even know about this motion passed in 2005 that will impact them next year if they fly. You can still board an aircraft with a passport if you do not have a Real ID, but this means you have to carry it with you every time you fly.