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Don’t be Grounded: Counting Down to REAL ID Compliance

Travelers are reminded that the REAL ID requirement and enforcement will start October 1, 2020. From this date, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the United States. Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

Real progress has been made in less than two years. In January of 2017, only 26 states were REAL ID compliant. Through voluntary partnerships with state governments, associations, DMVs, and other stakeholders in all 50 states and 6 territories, 47 out of 50 states are currently REAL ID compliant as of October 2, 2019.

There is still work to do. Only 27% of Americans have been issued a REAL ID at this time.

The Department of Homeland Security has been working to increase public attention and focus on the upcoming deadline. Beginning in April, TSA has displayed signs at airports notifying the public of the changing requirement. In August, TSA began verbally advising travelers who present non-compliant licenses of the upcoming REAL ID requirement and enforcement date. TSA has also co-hosted REAL ID events with motor vehicle administration officials in numerous locations around the country throughout the spring and summer, with more to come.

REAL ID-compliant licenses are marked by a star on the top of the card. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue both REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect. Travelers who are not sure if their state-issued ID is compliant should check with their state driver’s license agency.

In addition, DHS has been working closely with the government officials of all states and territories as well as the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and the National Governors Association to implement REAL ID and provide technical assistance.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act implements the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints. The regulations established the deadline of October 1, 2020, to ensure full enforcement of the REAL ID Act. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

Ensuring you are ready for the REAL ID deadline is one of the many ways you can improve your airport security experience.

Read more at TSA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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