A major shift in travel identification requirements—the introduction of the federally mandated Real ID—could create a lot of headaches at the airport starting next fall. And because two out of three Americans still don’t have a compliant driver’s license, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has started working on ways to make the transition less painful.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, Transportation Security Administration officials at airports will stop accepting state driver’s licenses that don’t comply with Real ID’s higher standard for security. “Where states have historically set their own rules for verifying the details on your ID, they now must all follow federal standards,” a recent Wired article explained.
Despite 15 years of lead time—the law was enacted in 2005 as part of the national security response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks—less than a third of Americans have a card that complies with the standard, in part because of issues with rollout at the state level. Those who don’t have a Real ID will have to use alternative forms of identification, such as passports, to board a domestic flight, and they won’t be able to access military bases. Obtaining a Real ID-compliant license requires an in-person trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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