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REAL ID: Will you be ready when the final deadline comes?

We are just under 18 months away from the planned implementation date of Oct. 1, 2020, for REAL ID, which was passed by Congress in 2005 to enhance national security by creating minimum standards for government issued identification such as driver’s licenses. When the planned implementation date of October 1, 2020 arrives, all U.S. citizens over 18 years of age will need to present a REAL ID compliant form of identification to pass through TSA security screening checkpoints.

While a few states are still working toward compliance, most states are already offering REAL ID approved driver’s licenses. However, what travelers need to know is that many states are offering both REAL ID compliant forms of identification along with traditional forms of identification. Traditional forms of identification will not be accepted by TSA agents after Oct. 1, 2020.  In most states, a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or state ID has a star on the top part of the card.

There are a few reasons why states are still offering traditional identification, but State Department officials fear that many citizens who should be requesting the REAL ID compliant identifications are still choosing the traditional forms of identification because they are generally cheaper and do not require additional documentation for issuance.

Anyone who plans to fly on commercial aircraft or enter select federal facilities and nuclear power plants in the United States after Oct. 1, 2020, should be applying for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or state ID unless they plan on using one of the acceptable alternate forms of ID as listed below. Travelers are further advised to apply for their REAL ID compliant identification early as long lines and possible delays for issuance are expected as we near the October 2020 deadline.

Accepted forms of alternate ID include:

U.S. passport

U.S. passport card

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

U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents

Permanent resident card

Border crossing card

DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license

Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID

HSPD-12 PIV card

Foreign government-issued passport

Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card

Transportation worker identification credential

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)

U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential


For more information on REAL ID please visit

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