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You can use your Global Entry card as a Real ID

January 31 2020
4 min read
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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

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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

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

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees