As the new domestic air travel regulations get closer for many of us (some states already have this requirement), I want to take the time to discuss what the REAL ID Act is and make sure you know that it will soon be required for ALL domestic flights.
Believe it or not, your state issued driver’s license will no longer be enough to get you on an airplane. With the implementation of the REAL ID Act, you will need an additional mark on your identification to fly anywhere - even within the United States.
So, what is the REAL ID Act, and how soon do you need to worry about it? I’ll answer these questions and more below:
What is REAL ID?
Per the Department of Homeland Security Website, the REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 by Congress to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.”
It is effectively an upgrade to your driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The idea behind this act is to make it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to gain access to federal agencies and facilities, or a commercial aircraft.
“Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft's. This is what is call ‘card-based’ enforcement.
The card itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents other than documents from non-compliant states (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).”
You May Already Have a REAL ID Driver’s License/ ID Card
Some states have already begun implementing the REAL ID Act. You can tell if your license or identification card is REAL ID compliant by finding a gold or black star in the top right corner of it. However, not all facilities have added these stars to their driver’s licenses - even those that are supposed to have already added this security measure. To make things even more confusing, some states have been granted permission to use a symbol different from a gold or black star. Check with your state to find out what their symbol is, and whether or not your driver’s license/state-issued identification is compliant.
Without a REAL ID compliant identification card, flying may be difficult soon
When October 1, 2020 arrives, if your license or identification card does not have the compliant marking, you will not be unable to board a plane, enter federal areas, and/or be unable to gain access to military bases.
Want to learn more about the REAL ID Act? These links may help you out:
-- REAL ID Act general information
-- FAQs about The REAL ID Act
-- TSA List of Acceptable Documents
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