Skip to content

You can use your Global Entry card as a Real ID

Jan. 31, 2020
4 min read
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.

It's 2020, which means the Real ID Act will be going into effect in October.

As of that month, if you do not have an ID that complies with the Real ID requirements, you will not be able to fly. The purpose of this change is to set clearer standards for government-issued photo ID. The law established a uniform set of security standards for driver’s licenses and other government-issued ID cards. Most importantly, it prohibits government agencies from accepting identification that does not meet the new standards. One of the goals was to add an extra layer of security to commercial aviation by making it more difficult for people to obtain false documents and use them to board airplanes.

Related: Everything you need to know about getting a Real ID

To check if you have a Real ID, look for a star or flag in the upper right-hand corner of your ID. If there's no special indicator like the star or flag, it's not compliant. If you haven't gotten a new state ID in the past year or so, you probably don't have a Real ID.

There are a few reasons why you may be hesitant to get one. If your current ID doesn't expire for a few more years, you may not want to pay the fee to get a new one. You also might want to avoid the long wait times that typically come with a visit to the DMV.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can avoid a trip to the DMV without risking your flight privileges after September 2020

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Global Entry card

Global Entry cards meet all the requirements for a Real ID, so if you don't want to spend the time getting a new state ID and have Global Entry, you're in the clear.

The membership costs $100 and is valid for five years. However, many travel rewards cards credit cardholders for the application fee so be sure to take advantage of that perk if you haven't already. Global Entry routes travelers through expedited screening for international travel and includes TSA PreCheck for domestic flights.

Further reading: Things to know before getting Global Entry

Passport or Passport card

You can also use your passport or passport card as a Real ID. For those unfamiliar with the passport card, they require a separate application and an additional fee. However, they can be especially handy since they are regular ID size. Although, it is only a valid form of ID for travel within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean and Bermuda.

Beyond those two common forms of identification for frequent travelers, you're also in the clear if you have any of the following IDs:

  • 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

Another reason to carry your Global Entry card is if you're traveling to and within Canada. Canada doesn't have TSA PreCheck, however, they have a similar trusted traveler program that grants Global Entry cardholders direct access to many airport security screening checkpoints across the country. Next time you're traveling in Canada, look for the Trusted Traveller line sign. Here you will be able to,

However, Canada requires all travelers to remove laptops trusted traveler or not.

Bottom line

If your state-issued ID is expiring soon anyway, it's better to just get a new ID now. However, it can be a hassle. If you have a Global Entry card or a passport, you're in the clear — just remember to bring them with you every time you travel both domestically and internationally.

Featured image by My Global Entry card arrived within one week of approval, with its own protective storage sleeve.