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The REAL ID Act and What It Means For You

The REAL ID Act and What It Means For You

As business travelers, we know you travel a lot. And if you travel a lot, you’ve definitely seen the signs for REAL ID compliant IDs complete with a looming deadline. You’re probably wondering what this means. And since we’re in the business of making your life easier, let us explain.

What is the REAL ID Act?

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the REAL ID Act “establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”

Translation, please.

In plain English, this means that the REAL ID Act has created new standards for driver’s licenses and ID cards. The aim was to eliminate terrorism by increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes after 9/11. More paperwork and information is now necessary, new technology is integrated, everyone is safer, life is good.

What does this mean for you?

The final enforcement deadline is October 1, 2020. So take a deep breath. You have almost entire year to figure this out, and we can figure it out together.

By October 1, 2020, all states are required to be issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses or IDs. Travelers must also have visited the DMV (move over Disney, the happiest place on Earth is calling) and obtained a REAL ID-compliant card.

After the deadline, REAL ID-compliant licenses/IDs or another acceptable form of identification (like passports or passport cards) are REQUIRED in order to board a commercial aircraft. So yes, if you are in the TSA security line and reach the agent with a non-compliant ID, you will not be able to get through security – you will be turned away.

But let us reiterate this important note: if you do not have a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, you can use your passport to get through TSA. You’ll just have to remember to carry it with you.

How do you get a REAL ID?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, you need to go to your specific state’s DMV website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. 

At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 

  1. Full Legal Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence
  5. Lawful Status

Some states may impose additional requirements, so before making the trip in person, we suggest checking online to verify what you need.

How do you know if you’re compliant?

Keep reading, that’s how.

REAL ID-compliant cards will have of one of the following markings on the upper top portion of the card:

If the card does not have one of these markings, it is not REAL ID-compliant and will not be accepted as proof of identity in order to board a commercial aircraft.

Check out these examples of what a compliant ID looks like from the Department of Homeland Security:

Here’s the bottom line.

As business travelers, duty always calls. And you need to be ready to answer that call when it comes. So by October 1, 2020 if you are a business traveler who

  1. is flying domestically and only wants to carry your license, or
  2. does not have a passport,

then you need to get serious about obtaining a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.

But if you don’t mind bringing another TSA-approved form of ID – like a passport – with you on every business trip you’re asked to take, then pretend you never read this and go on with your bad self.

But really, we recommend taking this seriously and looking into obtaining a compliant license or ID. It will save you time later and give you the peace of mind you deserve now.

For more information about the REAL ID Act and what it means for you, feel free to reach out to an AmTrav representative.

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