REAL ID: U.S. travelers will need a more secure ID to fly by the end of 2020

(CNN) – Do you think your driver’s license is enough to get you past airport security in the United States and on your domestic flight?

Maybe not.

About two thirds of U.S. driver’s licenses do not comply with a post-September 11 security law that will take effect on October 1. Those who do not comply will not be able to fly unless they have other forms of “REAL ID-compliant” identification.

Concerned about the impact on travel, the head of the United States Department of Homeland Security eased restrictions this week, allowing various state agencies to accept identity documents electronically.

“Ensuring that every state complies with REAL ID by October is one of the Department’s top priorities,” said DHS interim secretary Chad F. Wolf, in a press release. “Although progress has been made, real work is still ongoing because currently about two thirds of all licenses are not REAL ID compliant.

“Rest assured, our Department will continue to explore other viable options to improve this process and continue to do everything possible to inform Americans of the obligation to obtain a REAL ID before the deadline for full application by the end of the year. “

Todd Hauptli, CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives, shows his REAL ID-compliant driver's license during a press conference at Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on October 1, 2019.

Todd Hauptli, CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives, shows his REAL ID-compliant driver’s license during a press conference at Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on October 1, 2019.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

While Wolf says that this “pre-submission” of documents will result in a faster application process, it is unclear how much faster it will be.

This is because, as Wolf says, “a visit in person is still necessary, as it presents with physical copies of your documents”.

As of October 1st, travelers must have a “REAL ID compliant” driving license, US passport, US military ID or other acceptable identification fly to the United States.

The REAL ID Act, which established minimum security standards for the issuance of state licenses and their production, prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses from states that do not meet these minimum standards for certain activities.

To obtain a real ID compliant state driving license, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires applicants to provide documentation showing their full legal name, date of birth, social security number, two tests. of the primary residence address and legal status. States can impose multiple requirements.

No real ID, no flight

Travelers must make sure their IDs are REAL.

Travelers must make sure their IDs are REAL.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

If you are unable to produce an acceptable ID, your U.S. Airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint will not cancel you for the flight. The TSA is part of the Internal Security Department. This could lead to serious backups at U.S. airports starting October 1st.

While many states have issued compliant documents for years, travelers do not have to take a driver’s license and other documents meet the requirements. For example, Georgia became compliant in 2012 is California became compliant in 2018, but their driving licenses issued before those times in those states are not compliant.

Check if your state driving license or identity card is REAL ID compliant by simply looking for a star in the upper right corner. Some state motor vehicle departments will confirm the status of REAL ID online.

Another backlog

The Department of National Security reported this week that 48 out of 50 states in the United States comply with REAL ID, as of January 2017, when only 26 states were. The two remaining states that have not started issuing new IDs are Oklahoma and Oregon.

Collectively, those 48 states have issued more than 95 million REAL ID-compliant driving licenses and identity cards.

While the US Travel Association applauded the government’s “pre-submission”, the decision “remains the challenge that tens of millions of Americans still do not have REAL ID-compliant identification,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and USTA policy. , in a statement.

A post 11 September measure

The REAL ID Act requirement was part of the Commission’s 9/11 recommendation that the federal government set standards for issuing identification sources, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Since the passage of the 2005 act, the federal government has implemented TSA preliminary check and other programs that offer more security than REAL ID, said Barnes. That’s why USTA is pressuring the federal authorities to accept membership in these programs to replace REAL ID. (DHS hasn’t said yes, at least not yet.)
American MP Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) And Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) Have legislation introduced (PDF) this would allow TSA to accept membership in its Pre-Check program as a replacement for REAL ID.

USTA officials, who represent major airlines, hotels, state and local tourism agencies and other members of the travel industry, fear that their members will lose customers who suddenly cannot fly to the United States from October 1st. 2020.

What qualifies as a REAL ID

An American passport qualifies as a REAL ID.

An American passport qualifies as a REAL ID.

Jeff Haynes / AFP / Getty Images

• State driving licenses conforming to REAL ID or other identity cards with photos of the state

• American passport

• American passport card

• DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

United States Department of Defense IDs, including IDs issued to dependents

• Permanent resident card

• Border card

• Advanced driving license issued by the state

• ID photo released at federal level and released by tribals

• PIV HSPD-12 card

• Passport issued by the foreign government

• Canadian provincial driving license or Canadian card for Indian and Northern affairs

• Identification credentials of the transport worker

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)

• US merchant credentials


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