If you’ve been to the airport recently, you may have noticed signs, posted near the security checkpoint, regarding Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses.
But, are you really reading what the signs are telling you?
Check Your License Before You Fly in 2020
New ID Requirements to Fly
Starting October 1, 2020, Real ID will be enforced.
Every air traveler, 18 years old and older, will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.
This means that even if you have a valid driver’s license, that will no longer be enough to get you through the security checkpoint.
How do I know if my license is Real ID-compliant?
If you find a star on the upper right hand side of your license, your license is Real ID-compliant.
Licenses that also have a flag on them are also Real ID-compliant. These types of IDs are called enhanced licenses.
Washington state only issues enhanced driver’s licenses. But, Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York offer Real ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses.
As a former New York resident, these enhanced licenses enable us to travel to Canada without needing to obtain a passport. If we ever wanted to visit Mexico and some Caribbean islands, this ID is able to be used there, also.
Since some of my favorite memories include mid-day trips to Niagara Falls and walking across the Rainbow Bridge into Ontario, I miss not having this as an option for me anymore.
In NY State, they do cost $30 more than the regular license renewals. But, when Canada is basically in your backyard, it’s worth the cost.
Traveling with Minors
For those of us traveling with our children, the requirements won’t change.
TSA does not require identification from children under 18, when traveling with a companion.
However, I always travel with my sons’ birth certificates, especially since they’re getting older.
We’ve never had issues getting though security. But, since my oldest son is almost 16 years old, I like to have proof of his age, in case he ever needs it.
How do you get a Real ID?
You will need to present documentation to verify who you are in order to get your Real ID. This will most likely need to be done in person.
Required paperwork may also vary state to state, but they are looking for proof of identity, proof of citizenship, and proof of residency.
If you have original documentation of that information, you should have no problem getting your Real ID.
Documentation may include:
- An original or certified copy of a Birth Certificate issued by a State Bureau of Vital Statistics or equivalent Agency
- Social Security Card
- Current Vehicle Registration or Title
- Current Automobile Insurance Policy or an Automobile Insurance Statement
- Original or certified copy of Marriage License (since birth certificates state a person’s Maiden Name and does not match current paperwork)
Other Types of Real ID-compliant documentation
If you have any of the following documentations, then a Real ID-compliant license will not be necessary to fly.
Your current license, plus the following document, will be enough to get you through the security checkpoint.
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards
- U.S. military ID
- Permanent resident card
- Federally recognized, tribal photo ID
- Foreign government-issued passport
Information regarding the Real ID and acceptable forms of ID are available for download.
You can also find additional information on the TSA website and your state’s website.