REAL ID Starting October 1, 2020 – What it Means for Travelers

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Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification in order to fly.

One year from now, standard drivers’ licenses will no longer be accepted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at airport security checkpoints. Are you ready for the new requirements to go into effect?

How to make sure you’re prepared:

Check your driver’s license to see if it’s REAL ID compliant. REAL IDs are marked with a star at the top of the card. See the star? You’re ready to fly. Not sure whether your driver’s license is compliant with REAL ID? Reach out to your local driver’s licensing agency for more information.

If you don’t have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license yet, start making a plan to get one. The REAL ID Act establishes new minimum security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards, which means obtaining a REAL ID compliant driver’s license requires more documentation than what you’d typically be expected to present. Check the website of your state’s driver’s licensing agency to determine the set of documents you’ll need in order to verify your identity, and start collecting that paperwork now.

Finally, be sure to request a REAL ID compliant driver’s license at your appointment. Visiting your local driver’s licensing authority is a notoriously unenviable errand, but a little advance planning can make all the difference. To help ease the process, some states have launched express facilities or mobile REAL ID units to serve residents more efficiently.

It’s worth noting that other forms of identification, like a U.S. passport, will be accepted at airport security checkpoints. It’s still a good idea to take the steps necessary to obtain a REAL ID compliant driver’s license. For a full list of acceptable forms of identification, visit TSA’s website.

Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments about REAL ID.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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Here at Points, Miles and Martinis, we love all things travel. We focus on topics relating to travel including destinations, airline, hotel, car rental and credit card reward programs. Our goal is to help people travel better. - See more at our About Us page.

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  1. My DL expires in 2031. That’s the next time I’ll ever stand in line at the DMV. They’ll just have to deal with my passport(s) until that time.

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