Does Your Driver’s License Have a Star? Get Your REAL ID Now So You Can Fly in 2020
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Planning to travel by plane? Get ready for this new requirement.
Beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler (ages 18 and older) will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Without an approved form of identification, you may not be allowed to pass through airport security or board your flight.
This new requirement is a result of the REAL ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission determined that it was too easy for people to obtain a driver’s license. To close this security loophole, air travelers are now required to obtain REAL IDs by presenting a birth certificate or green card, a Social Security card, and two documents that show proof of address.
Do you have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license?
It’s estimated that 3 out of 4 Americans currently do not have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. To complicate matters, some Americans don’t even know whether their driver’s license is REAL ID compliant. Each state has been complying with the REAL ID Act at its own pace, making the process inconsistent from one state to the next and rather confusing.
Don’t assume that your driver’s license is REAL ID-compliant.
If you’re planning to fly on or after October 1 of next year, don’t assume that your driver’s license is REAL ID-compliant, even if you’ve recently renewed it. If your ID is compliant, it will have a star in the upper right-hand corner of the card. If you aren’t 100% sure whether your license is REAL ID-compliant, the TSA urges you to check with your state driver’s license agency.
If you do need a REAL ID, you should begin the process of obtaining one now to avoid the inevitable rush that will likely occur as the deadline approaches. There are an estimated 182 million Americans who are still without this form of ID, so anyone waiting until the last minute will run the risk of getting caught up in a massive backlog of requests.
To begin the process, contact your state driver’s license agency. At this time, there is no way to complete the process online. You will need to go in person to present documentation in order to get your REAL ID.