Reminder: One year until you’ll need a Real ID to fly

Oct 2, 2019

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We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again — as of Oct. 1, 2020, travelers will need a Real ID-compliant license if they want to fly with it within the U.S. Barring that, a passport or another acceptable form of federal ID is also allowed, but your old-school license won’t be.

This is due to the Real ID Act, which was passed after 9/11. The aim of the act is to make it more difficult to forge documents, and while most states already issue such licenses, it doesn’t mean you’ve got one. The process to acquire one is more rigorous and requires additional documentation, as well as increased fees and possible longer waiting times.

Though it’s a pain, travelers need to be aware of the Real ID Act and make sure they’ve got their ducks in a row or else there’ll be no getting on the plane. The TSA is being proactive about warning passengers, and there’s signage within airports reminding passengers of that Oct. 1 deadline. And although a physical Global Entry card is compliant with Real ID and will get you though security, just being enrolled in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck won’t remove the requirement to carry an acceptable ID. Here’s the current list of TSA-approved documents:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • Permanent resident card
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued 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

Related: The best cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

It may be easy to ignore for now, but travelers need to be prepared for that Oct. 1, 2020 deadline, when Real ID becomes a requirement.

Featured photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

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