Time for Some REAL Talk: TSA Begins Informing Travelers of Upcoming REAL ID Deadline

Have you looked closely at your driver’s license? If not, you might want to take a good look – especially if you want to board a plane in the U.S. starting in the fall of 2020.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, air travelers in the United States must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification, to verify their identity and proceed through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s checkpoint security screening to board an aircraft. This requirement stems from a 2005 law – the REAL ID Act – that Congress passed following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission. The law called on the federal government to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” IDs compliant with the law are usually marked with a star in the upper portion of the card.

TSA and airports are working hard to inform the traveling public about the looming enforcement deadline and what it means for flyers come Oct. 1, 2020. Some airports have even hosted DMV pop-up events to allow flyers to get a REAL ID-compliant license right at the airport.

Last week, TSA began verbally notifying flyers who present non-compliant state-issued driver’s licenses about the ID requirement and enforcement date. Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

TSA has also launched a public awareness campaign about the October 2020 enforcement deadline, including sharing a video and printed materials that airports can post near their screening checkpoints. TSA has complied these resources on its REAL ID website.