New Air Travel Requirement: Is Your Driver's License a 'Real ID'?

Fran Majidi
February 24, 2020

You probably haven’t had any trouble flying since 9/11. Most Americans are free to board a plane after showing a valid license or picture ID. Well, it turns out that not all licenses are REAL-ID compliant and soon, it may prevent people from traveling. Is your license REAL-ID compliant?

Starting October 1, 2020, most Americans will need a new ID to fly domestically. Two-thirds of all valid US state driver’s licenses are not compliant with a post-9/11 security law. The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for the issuing of state licenses. However, not all states heeded the call.

U.S citizens and legal residents who do not carry what is referred to as a “REAL-ID” will simply not be able to board their flight. Federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are prohibited from accepting licenses from states that do not meet the minimum standards.

The reason you may not have a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license is because not every state has been issuing licenses that are in keeping with REAL-ID requirements. Your state may or may not be compliant so it’s important to check to see if you have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license if you plan to fly in or after October 1.

If your state became compliant in the past couple of years but your driver’s license was issued before the state became compliant, you do not have a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license and must get a new one if you do not have a passport/other documentation instead (see below for permitted IDs).

DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a press release that “ensuring every state is REAL-ID compliant by October is one of the Department’s top priorities. While progress has been made, the real work is still ahead because approximately two-thirds of all licenses are presently not compliant with Real-ID.

To get a REAL-ID, Wolf says that an in-person visit is required, “as is showing up with physical copies of your documents.”

Are There Other Documents That Would Replace the REAL-ID Driver’s License?

Yes, in order to board a flight, you may also present the following:

  • U.S, passport
  • U.S. military ID.
  • U.S passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, Fast)
  • U.S Department of Defense ID (and IDs issued to dependents)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued enhanced driver’s license
  • Tribal issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker ID credentials
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

What Do I Need to Get a REAL-ID Compliant State Driver’s License?

You’ll need to provide documentation showing your full legal name, date of birth, social security number, two proofs of the address of principal residence and lawful status. Some states may have additional requirements.

How Do I Know if My Driver’s License Is REAL-ID Compliant?

Look for a star in the upper right-hand corner of your card. You can also visit your local department of motor vehicles (DMV). Some states’ DMVs will confirm REAL-ID status online.

Which States Are Not Yet Compliant?

Oklahoma and Oregon have still not yet begun issuing REAL Ids. However, if you live in a compliant state but were issued a card before the state became compliant, your driver’s license may not be a REAL ID.

Tens of millions of Americans do not have a REAL ID compliant license, according to Tori Emerson Barnes, US Travel Association’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy. Don’ assume it’s not you!

Currently, there has been legislation introduced to substitute a Pre-Check program for a REAL ID.

Your Car and Your Car Insurance

After you get up-to-date with the necessary documents for air travel, you should also get car insurance quotes to see which insurer will offer you the best rates for the most comprehensive insurance. No, you don’t need a special license to drive or take a road trip. Any license that is still active is good for road travel. We’re here to help you save money, so get started on your quote by typing in your zipcode below.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.

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