Real ID is Almost Here: This is What You Need to Know to Fly Starting Next Year

Security checkpoint at JFK Airport

By Paul Riegler on 18 November 2019
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If you didn’t upgrade your driver’s license to a Real ID-compliant one when renewing, you may be in for a surprise.

Starting in October 2020, the Transportation Security Administration, the agency which is responsible for manning security checkpoints at the nation’s airports, will stop accepting standard driver’s licenses and only accept those which are compliant with the Real ID Act of 2005, which came about as an aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Agents at security checkpoints will accept a passport as well as a Global Entry card, issued by the Global Entry trusted-traveler program.

Driver’s licenses that are Real ID compliant sport a five-point star in the top right corner. Getting one requires a trip to the local department of motor vehicles or other agency that issues licenses in your state with documentation that includes proof of identity such as a current license, birth certificate, or passport; proof of date of birth; proof of U.S. citizenship; and two proofs of residence such as utility bills or bank statements.

The rationale for Real ID came from the fact that some of the terrorists who hijacked the four planes on September 11 used fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses to traverse airport security checkpoints, but the plan raised concerns for privacy as well as the cost of implementation.  As a result, the deadline for enforcement was pushed back repeatedly from 2008 to 2009 to 2011 to 2013 and finally to October 2020.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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