REAL ID is coming. Albeit more slowly than originally planned.
If this is news to you, here’s a quick recap. REAL ID is part of a federal effort to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents. This primarily affects driver's licenses. States must implement enhanced security standards for driver’s licenses by a certain date, and residents must obtain a REAL ID or a REAL ID compliant source of identification, like a passport. For more information on the background, check out our April 2018 article.
What You Need to Know About REAL ID for Airline Travel
Card-based enforcement begins October 1, 2020
In order to fly, domestically or internationally, (or access federal facilities or nuclear power plants), every state and territory resident will need to present either REAL ID compliant identification or other acceptable identification, like a passport. Note that minors, or those under age 18, do not need an ID card as long as they are accompanied by a companion with acceptable identification.
Review the status of your state to see if--or when--you can get your REAL ID
Every state has undergone a review process, and has either been approved or given an extension to come into compliance for REAL ID. View a list of all states with their status via the Department of Homeland Security.
Compliance dates vary from state to state. Once your state is in compliance, you can choose to apply for a REAL ID ASAP, or wait until your driver's license is due for renewal. In Minnesota, for example, there are fees assessed for early renewal with the REAL ID upgrade. Note that extra documentation is necessary to process a REAL ID application.
REAL IDs are optional
REAL ID compliant documentation isn’t necessary for driving, voter registration, receiving federal benefits, and more. As noted on the site for the Department of Homeland Security, these are used for air travel, entering federal facilities requiring identification and nuclear power plants.
That said, however, the onus is on you to take the steps to procure a REAL ID.
Proper Planning Prevents Problems Later On
Even if your state isn’t in compliance yet, you can take steps to ensure seamless air travel. Keep your passport up to date, watch your license renewal date, and--of course--stay in contact with Carrousel for important updates!