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How Will The Real ID Act Affect Travel?
In the past, national flights have only required a legal driver’s license to get to past security. The Real ID Act is set to change this.
In the wake of 9/11, travel requirements have been constantly changing and restrictions have been growing. The Real ID Act is just the latest of these laws.
What is the Real ID Act?
The Real ID Act is set to go in effect October 1, 2020.
While initially passed in 2005, the bill was ignored for over a decade. As of late 2018, the Real ID Act received grounds for enforcement. Currently the TSA is working around the clock to make sure citizens are informed of the changes and given ample time to get their new IDs. States such as New York began complying with the bill in 2017.
This act sets “minimum standards” for driver’s licenses and other forms of identification that can be accepted by federal agencies. Agencies covered by this are all federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and of course commercial air crafts.
As of May 2019, 48 states are compliant with the Real ID Act. It is important to note that just because your state is compliant, doesn’t mean your current license is.
How Will the Real ID Act Affect Travel?
The act only applies to those over 18, so children will not be affected.
Passports will continue to be an accepted form of identification. Individuals will not need a compliant ID for federal facilities which never required identification in the past, such as federal museums and national parks.
How Do I Know if My License is Compliant?
There are a few different ways to know if your license fits within the new rules of the Real ID Act.
Newly issues identification cards may be marked with a black or gold star in the upper portion of the card. Although, Hawaii, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah have compliant licenses without this star.
If your ID is marked “not for Federal Identification,” or “Federal Limits Apply,” you will have to get an updated card. If you are unsure of your status, you can always call the Department of Motor Vehicles.
How Do I Upgrade My License?
The standards vary state to state; check with your local DMV before submitting any paperwork.
Generally, you will have to provide proof of identity (current license, passport, etc.), proof of residency (bank statement, utility bill, etc.) and other documentation such as a birth certificate or social security card. Every state has different policies and different fees associated with the upgrade.
Which Other Forms of ID Can I Use?
Along with your passport there are several other compliant forms of identification which can be used for air travel. Approved traveler cards such as Global Entry and Nexus will be accepted, permanent resident cards, federal I.D. badges, and several others. The Department of Homeland Security website has the full list of accepted IDs.
Do you have any other questions about travel documents? Need a passport or travel visa for an upcoming trip? Passport Health can help. Give us a call at or take a look at any of our other Passport and Visa services.
Written for Passport Health by Meagan Reynolds. Meagan is currently a freelance blogger, video producer, and social media assistant pursuing a degree in television-radio-film. She has a passion for writing and hopes to be a screenwriter and producer in the future.