This bill may allow you to use TSA PreCheck as Real ID

Feb 21, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to correctly identify why New Yorkers lost the ability to apply for Global Entry.

More than 182 million Americans will not be able to get through airport security or enter federal buildings come Oct. 1, 2020. That’s the date when Real ID compliance requirements kick in — identification that passes a nation-wide standard for verification.

Right now, an estimated 95 million Americans hold Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses, U.S. passports and passport cards, military IDs, and Global Entry cards, all of which qualify as Real ID-compliant identification.

Related: You can use your Global Entry card as a Real ID

And if a newly proposed congressional bill is passed, TSA PreCheck members may still be able to pass domestic airport security come Oct. 1, even without Real ID.

Arizona U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko and Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy recently proposed the Trusted Traveler Real ID Relief Act of 2020 to the House of Representatives. If passed, this bill would require the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to accept proof of TSA PreCheck enrollment in lieu of Real ID–compliant identification through April 1, 2022.

There will be “mass confusion, chaos, and delays that will most certainly occur across our nation’s airports if proper measures are not taken by Oct. 1,” Lesko stated on her website. While most states are now Real ID-compliant, it has taken many months to reach this point; only three out of 10 Americans possess updated driver’s licenses or other compliant identification, according to CBS.

“This commonsense bill will permit those enrolled in TSA PreCheck to continue their journey without disruption,” Murphy agreed in the statement on Lesko’s website.

The bill also proposes that TSA develop alternative and additional screening procedures for non-Trusted Traveler members who don’t have Real ID after Oct. 1, although the bill did not provide any suggestions on how to do so.

Related: Help! Can I get through airport security if I lose my ID?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already begun investigating ways to streamline the Real ID application process nationwide, such as allowing applications to be submitted online. But the documents required for Real ID-compliant identification vary from state to state, so travelers will need to check with local government to see what options are available.

To see the light of day the new law would need approval in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and would require the signature of President Trump.

You may remember the recent controversy in the state of New York, where residents lost the ability to enroll in or re-apply for Global Entry and similar Trusted Traveler programs because New York refuses to turn over information from the IDs of undocumented immigrants to Homeland Security.

New York’s Green Light Law allows undocumented immigrants to apply for New York state driver’s licenses while protecting applicants’ personal information from immigration agencies.

Additional legal battles are expected in that matter, but New York state is now Real ID compliant.


Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

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