Due to federal regulations, beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler (18 years or older) will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.
What Is REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act, which was passed in May of 2005 after a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, sets more stringent requirements for driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted at federal facilities, including airport security checkpoints.
How Do I Make Sure My License Is REAL ID-Compliant?
As of this writing, five states are not yet compliant with the REAL ID Act: Oregon, Oklahoma, Kentucky, New Jersey and Maine, as well as American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The rest of the U.S. states and territories are all currently compliant and are issuing REAL IDs.
HOWEVER, just because your state is issuing REAL IDs, doesn’t mean your license is automatically compliant.
Generally, REAL IDs have a star in the upper portion of the license. If you don’t see a star, contact your local driver’s license agency (i.e., DMV or MVC) for information on obtaining a REAL ID-compliant card.
For nationwide compliance status, check the map on the Homeland Security website.
What If My State Does Not Offer REAL ID?
If you live in one of the aforementioned states or territories, check with your local driver’s license agency to find out when you can apply for a new card. In Oregon, for example, REAL IDs will become available beginning July 2020.
While you wait for your state to become compliant, you will need to use another form of identification to get through security. Passports and Global Entry cards, for example, are acceptable alternatives.
You can find a complete, up-to-date list of accepted IDs at TSA’s website.
What If I Don’t Want to Get a REAL ID License?
You don’t need a REAL ID to fly domestically, but you DO need to present another accepted form of ID. (See above for a complete list.)
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