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REAL ID implementation: What you need to know

November 20, 2017

Questions continue to be raised regarding REAL ID implementation. With the deadline fast approaching, we wanted to provide you with some helpful information regarding state compliance deadlines, extension dates, and acceptable forms of identification.

Jan. 22, 2018: For U.S. passengers with a driver’s license from a state that is REAL ID noncompliant and has no extension, an alternative form of approved identification will need to be presented. TSA’s website provides a list of acceptable forms of identification. If a passenger has a driver’s license from a compliant state or a state that has received an extension, they may continue to use their license as before. A list of states in compliance or that have an extension is available on DHS’s REAL ID webpage.

Oct. 10, 2018: Seventeen states have received a REAL ID enforcement extension through October 10, 2018. This means that residents in those states will not have access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding commercial aircraft up to October 10, 2018. For a list of states already in compliance or with an extension, visit DHS’s REAL ID webpage.

Oct. 1, 2020: October 1, 2020 is the current deadline in which every air traveler will have to present a REAL ID compliant license or other form of acceptable identification. Compliance with REAL ID indicates that a license is one that meets, and is issued by a state that complies with the REAL ID Act’s security standards. A list of compliant states is available on DHS’s REAL ID webpage. You can check with your state’s agency that issues driver’s licenses about how to acquire a compliant license.

Background on REAL ID
The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting the recommendation; 27 states are compliant, 17 states are operating on an extension, and 6 states remain under review.

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