Skip to content

TSA Continues Push to Warn Passengers to Get Real ID

Aug. 24, 2019
3 min read
TSA Continues Push to Warn Passengers to Get Real ID
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The TSA has started a public campaign to encourage travelers to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or other acceptable form of identification, to fly within the US by October 1, 2020. Those who try to travel without an approved REAL ID will not be allowed to pass through TSA checkpoints to catch their flights.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 after a 9/11 Commission recommendation that the federal government create a set of standards for IDs such as driver’s licenses. But the act was controversial, since opponents said it was tantamount to requiring a national ID card, which they argued was a violation of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which notes that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.

By 2017, only 25 states had implemented Real ID, with others passing laws to prohibit implementation of the act. The Montana legislature went as far as passing a 2007 law against the Real ID Act over concerns about documents to prove identity and an overreach by the federal government. However, in January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security warned travelers who didn't have a license from a compliant state or lived in a state that was granted an extension "will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification." If they couldn't provide an alternative ID, they wouldn't be allowed past airport security checkpoints, which pushed states to implement the program.

Four states — Maine, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Oregon — along with American Samoa have an extension to implement Real ID by the October 2020 date. “The security requirements of the REAL ID Act are an important step in enhancing commercial aviation security,” said TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell in a statement. “REAL ID implementation is a little more than a year away — now is the time to prepare.”

Travelers may have noticed more signs in airports reminding them of the October 1, 2020, date, along with naming other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, a federal government personal identity verification (PIV) card or a U.S. military ID. In an interview with TSA officials last week, they told TPG that officers at ID-checking podium are also engaging passengers, asking if they realize they don't have a Real ID. REAL ID-compliant licenses are marked by a star on the top right side of the card. If you're not sure if your state is compliant, contact your driver’s license agency.

For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Featured image by Denver Post via Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers