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What the Real ID Act means for Travelers

What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for U.S. state and territory license production and issuance. It prohibits Federal agencies from accepting licenses that do not meet these requirements, which can affect travelers passing through TSA and trying to board commercial aircrafts.

How many states currently comply with the Real ID Act standards?

As of October 10th, 2018, 37 states, territories and Washington D.C. were producing and issuing licenses that meet all of the Real ID Act requirements. Licenses from these states are certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The additional 19 jurisdictions are not compliant but have been granted temporary extensions during which they must both begin issuing compliant IDs and complete the DHS compliance review. Those jurisdictions include:

  • California*
  • Massachusetts*
  • Guam*
  • Virginia*
  • Minnesota*
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Rhode Island
  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • Northern Marianas
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Pennsylvania
  • American Samoa
  • New Jersey
  • Maine
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

*Indicates state is issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs

What will happen on October 1, 2020?

Beginning in October 2020, all travelers in all states and territories will be required to show a compliant license, with a star in the upper right corner, in order to get through airport TSA checkpoints. This is important to note because some states still offer compliant and noncompliant licenses, the noncompliant licenses being cheaper. Those who choose to purchase noncompliant licenses will not be able to use them at TSA checkpoints.

What does all of this mean for travelers?

If you already have a compliant license, there’s no need to do anything at all. If you don’t have a compliant license, educate yourself on whether or not your state is currently issuing them. If your state issues compliant licenses, try to get one as soon as possible if you plan to travel, even if it is before your required renewal date. If your state is not yet issuing compliant licenses, familiarize yourself on your state’s implementation timeline and plan to get one as soon as they become available.

Check the DHS Real ID website for more information:  https://www.dhs.gov/real-id.

Additional questions? Give Professional Travel a call and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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