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REAL ID: What You Need to Know

Real ID: What You Need To Know

June 14, 2019

Now is a good time to look at your driver’s license and consider getting a new one.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, only driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet increased security standards will be accepted by the federal government to board commercially operated flights. The same will apply to anyone who wants to enter a federal building or nuclear power plant.

The REAL ID Act of 2005, which established this new requirement, was created as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

It requires states to ask for additional proof of residence and social security cards or numbers to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards that will be built with new technology intended to make them more secure. Most state REAL ID compliant licenses and ID cards will have a gold or black star on the front. But each state will implement the law in its own way within the guidelines, so there will be exceptions to this. The bottom line: It’s best to check with each particular state what the new IDs will look like.

The effective date has been postponed many times, but the federal government says Oct. 1, 2020 is it, and as of now, there are no plans to delay that.

Some experts are not so certain.

“REAL ID has been pushed back so many times, we’re not certain it won’t happen again,” said Jeff Price, an aviation expert and owner of Leading Edge Strategies, an airport management training company.

But the Homeland Security official was adamant. “At this time there are no plans to extend to the October 1, 2020 deadline,” the official said this week.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration have started campaigns to alert the public that the deadline is looming. Groups that will be impacted by the new law are also educating travelers.

Here is what travelers need to know about REAL ID.

If you don’t get a REAL ID, what is another acceptable form of identification?

There are various types of identification other than a driver’s license that have always been accepted for travel. That won’t change. These IDs include a U.S. passport, a U.S. passport card, a Department of Homeland Security Card such as a Global Entry ID, a permanent resident card, a foreign government-issued passport, and a border crossing card. For a list of all accepted forms of identification, take a look here:

Are all states in compliance with the REAL ID act?

The law’s implementation has been a long and arduous process. Many states initially balked at the idea of changing the way they conduct their business. Organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, also opposed it, arguing that it would make it easier for the federal government to track data on individuals and violate their privacy.

As of this week, most states are in compliance with the act. A few have received extensions to create REAL ID cards. They are: Maine, New Jersey, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Oregon.

The Department of Homeland Security “has been working with states for years around REAL ID compliance and have provided technical assistance, grants and other support to them,” a Homeland Security official told the GBTA. “We are also providing more than two years advance notice of implementation with respect to domestic air travel to allow ample time for all states to achieve compliance, or for potential air travelers to acquire an alternate form of ID if their state does not comply with REAL ID.”

How will TSA deal with passengers without proper identification?

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, if you don’t have a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification, you will not be able to board a flight. You will be turned away.

The Airports Council International-North America, which represents local, regional and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada, has raised concerns about the new law. It will take more effort for people to get REAL ID cards, the group says.

“It’s a much more intensive process in terms of paperwork to get a compliant license than a non-complaint license,” said Christopher Bidwell, senior vice president of security for ACI-NA. “That’s almost a disincentive for people to get a compliant license.”

Al Yurman, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator and aviation expert, said that in some cases, people who have recently renewed licenses may have to do so again—and in person.

“I think the traveling public is going to have a lot of aggravation,” he said.

Said TSA Administrator David Pekoske: “TSA is doing everything we can to prepare our partners and the traveling public for the REAL ID deadline next year. The security requirements of the REAL ID Act will dramatically enhance and improve commercial aviation security.”

Will there be longer airport security lines?

Perhaps. As much as Homeland Security, TSA, and other affected groups are trying to educate the public, there will still be people who will show up at the airport thinking nothing has changed.

“That’s our biggest concern, is that for individuals who are unaware of the requirement come Oct. 1, 2020, and they show up expecting to be processed through security like they’ve have been prior to that date, they’re going to be upset and reasonably so,” Bidwell said. “And that’s why we’re taking the opportunity to help educate current and would-be travelers.”

Price is not so concerned.

“I would imagine that we would see some longer lines when it finally does go into effect,” he said. “But the vast majority of states already meet the requirements and TSA already has procedures in place for passengers that do not have identification.”

Nancy Trejos is covering industry news for GBTA. She has been a journalist for more than two decades, covering various subjects and traveling all around the world. She was a business and leisure travel writer at USA TODAY from November 2012 to January 2019, writing about destinations, business travel, hotels, airlines, rental cars, and the sharing economy. Previously, she spent 13 years at The Washington Post covering travel, personal finance, education, and the war in Iraq. She is the author of the personal finance memoir "Hot Broke Messes: How to Have your Latte and Drink it Too." She has also worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press and was a contributor at Latina magazine. She graduated from Georgetown University and lives in New York City.


Missouri Department of Revenue News Release

REAL ID: Missouri REAL ID-compliant licenses available March 25, 2019


Department of Revenue News Release

Home » News » News Item

March 01, 2019

Department of Revenue on track to offer REAL ID-compliant driver licenses, nondriver ID cards beginning March 25


The Missouri Department of Revenue remains on track to begin offering REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and nondriver identification cards on March 25, 2019. Issuance of REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards is the final step in the process for Missouri to satisfy requirements of the federal REAL ID Act and its regulations. Under Missouri law, applying for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card is optional.

“The Department of Revenue has been working hard toward achieving full implementation of the REAL ID Act, and I’m pleased to say we’re on schedule to do so later this month,” said Department Director Joel Walters. “We look forward to being able to start offering REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and ID cards on March 25. However, we want to stress to our customers that there’s no immediate need to rush to apply because the current Missouri-issued license and ID card will afford the same access as a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card until October 2020.”

Effective Oct. 1, 2020, residents of every U.S. state and territory will be required to present a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card, or another form of ID accepted by the Transportation Security Administration, to board federally regulated domestic flights. Individuals will also be required to present a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card, or another form of acceptable ID, to access federal facilities, including military bases and federal courthouses, and to enter nuclear power plants.

The Department anticipates increased foot traffic and longer wait times at license offices in the weeks immediately following the start of REAL ID-compliant license and ID card availability. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of the time between March 25, 2019, and Oct. 1, 2020, to apply for their REAL ID-compliant license or ID card.  

“While we know many of our customers will ultimately choose to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, we want to reiterate that doing so is a choice under Missouri law,” added Walters. “Not every person will necessarily need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card.”

Walters also stated that license offices will be unable to provide driver license services on Saturday, March 23, 2019, due to necessary system updates regarding REAL ID processing capabilities. He said customers who have a license or ID card that expires in March or April should check for the exact expiration date and plan their trip accordingly. Motor vehicle titling and registration services may still be provided at those license offices scheduled to be open March 23. Customers are encouraged to check license office schedules before visiting.

The transaction and processing fees for a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, new or renewal, will be the same as they are currently. Detailed fee information can be found at Customers can apply for an early duplicate license or ID card outside of their regular renewal period, which is six months prior to the expiration of their license or ID card. Missouri law allows for a one-time waiver of the duplicate transaction fee for persons who have not been issued a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card. License office processing fees, however, will not be waived and are $2.50 for a three-year issuance or $5 for a six-year issuance.

The Department oversees more than 175 contract license office locations throughout the state. License office locations, hours and days of operation, can be found at

Visit for a complete listing of acceptable documents for REAL ID-compliant license and ID card processing, as well as other important information regarding REAL ID. For more information about the REAL ID Act, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website at


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