Countdown is On When REAL ID Will Be Required to Travel by Airplane

Flying into West Palm Beach, Florida

The countdown is on when air travelers will be required to have REAL ID – an enhanced drivers’ license, passport or military ID – in order to get on an airplane. The deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2020 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The countdown is on when air travelers will be required to have REAL ID – an enhanced drivers’ license, passport or military ID – in order to get on an airplane. The deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2020.

According to the US Travel Association, 99 million Americans are likely without any form of REAL ID. Anyone who shows up at the airport next October 1 without the correct ID risks being turned away from getting on a plane.

U.S. Travel leaders fear that individuals who only travel occasionally, such as to visit family over the holidays, are most likely to be affected.

“Significant lack of awareness is one of the challenges we face as the REAL ID enforcement deadline approaches next year,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We are concerned not only about the post-deadline effects for major travel times like Thanksgiving, but also about the significant crunch at state DMVs throughout next year as people scramble to obtain their REAL ID.”

The message that must be repeated to get people #RealIDready, Dow said. “At a minimum, check for the star that appears in the top right-hand corner of most REAL IDs—but ideally, contact your DMV directly to find out if you’re compliant.

“The holidays are a time when less-frequent flyers might be thinking about air travel, and there is always ample news coverage of holiday travel projections and conditions at U.S. airports,” Dow said. “The next two months are going to be critical for closing the REAL ID awareness.

Over the course of the year, people who need to renew their licenses should make sure it is upgraded to be REAL ID compliant. Also take into account the time-lag to renew a passport, which can take six weeks (and many foreign countries require at least one month extra time before expiration).

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