Countdown begins until TSA Real ID requirements take effect; But it’s not easy getting an appointment

The Transportation and Safety Administration previously announced that only driver’s licenses that meet certain Federal requirements will be accepted to cross security checkpoints at airports Nationwide.

There are currently two types of driver’s licenses – “Real” and “Not Real.” The licenses that are “Not Real” state on them “Not for Real ID purposes” (even though they are permitted for driving.)

New rules were supposed to take effect October 1, 2021, but that got delayed due to Covid. The countdown now begins for when the law will take effect.

The new law will take effect on May 3, 2023,  where every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license in order to get onto an airplane. If one has a passport, this will continue to be accepted as well. New Jersey began issuing the “Real ID Licenses” in September 2019. Currently most local MVCs only award this type of license.

Currently, the only way to obtain these specialized licenses, is in person at a local MVC office or at one of their mobile units. In New Jersey, many of the MVC offices are still short staffed and appointments are fully booked.

The TSA is urging people without the ID to make an appointment for one online at a local MVC office and not wait until the last minute. You can do so continuing to check the MVC website for appointments – but it could potentially be months until you get an appointment at a location near you.

The MVC mobile units in New Jersey are also being used to process these specialized ID’s. Each unit processes about 50 people per day. Should any mobile units providing the Real ID become available locally, TLS will notify its readers.

The Real ID is a more secure form of ID than the standard issued driver’s license which is issued in some States to illegal aliens. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Federal 9/11 Commission, which investigated the attacks, found that the standard driver’s license was easily obtained without much of a security background check and hence many of the hijackers were able to obtain the standard drivers license and cross security checkpoints.

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