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Real ID: Everything You Need to Know

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As you likely know, air travelers have been told for the last two years that you must have a Real ID to board a plane beginning 10/01/20. That date has now been pushed back one year to 10/01/21 due to COVID-19.
REAL ID Enforcement Begins October 1, 2021

Beginning October 1, 2021, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or other acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States or enter federal facilities

What is the REAL ID act?
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. The Act enacted set standards for the issuing of identification such as driver’s licenses. The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The REAL ID Act also prohibits federal agencies (like the TSA) from accepting licenses that do not meet these standards.

What is a REAL ID compliant license?
REAL ID compliant cards are generally marked with a star located in the upper part of the card. The style of the star will vary depending on the state. Some states (MI, MN, NY, VT and WA) offer enhanced driver’s licenses which are also REAL ID compliant and are generally marked with a U.S. flag. If you’re unsure if your license is REAL ID compliant check with your state’s DMV directly.

Who needs a REAL ID?
All Americans traveling by air will need to present a REAL ID or another accepted form of identification to board a flight within the U.S. on and after October 1, 2021. Acceptable forms of ID to present for air travel include:
• REAL ID driver’s license or other REAL ID compliant state photo identity card issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
• U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
• DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
• U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
• Permanent resident card
• Border crossing card
• DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID HSPD-12 PIV card
• Foreign government-issued passport
• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
• Transportation worker identification credential (TWIC®)
• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
• U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

How do I get a REAL ID?
Check with your state driver’s license agency. You will need to go the DMV in person to present documentation to verify who you are and where you live in order to get your REAL ID.

Why should I act soon?
REAL ID compliant license must be issued by the DMV and long lines or processing times could compromise your ability to fly. As seen during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, access to DMVs can become limited or restricted. Obtaining your REAL ID as soon as possible (keeping in mind other government directives such as coronavirus “shelter in place” orders) ensures you are prepared for October 1, 2021.