Beginning October 1, 2020, each traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States. Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.
“The security requirements of the REAL ID Act are an important step in enhancing commercial aviation security,” said TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell. “REAL ID implementation is a little more than a year away – now is the time to prepare.”
Since April, TSA has displayed signs at airports to remind travelers that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, a valid passport, or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. REAL ID-compliant licenses are marked by a star on the top of the card. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect. Travelers who are not sure if their state-issued ID is compliant should check with their state driver’s license agency.
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act complies with the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as at airport security checkpoints. The regulations established the deadline of October 1, 2020, to ensure full enforcement of the REAL ID Act. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.