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REAL ID Rules & Deadlines

Since the passage of the REAL ID Act in 2005, the deadline for states to comply has been extended a few times. Now, with every state and U.S. territory compliant, it appears the restrictions will go into effect Oct. 1, 2020. What this means for travelers is that starting from that date, they will need to show REAL ID-compliant identifications in order to board domestic flights.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that 99 million Americans don’t currently have an ID that would qualify. If you’re not sure whether your driver’s license qualifies, look for a star in the upper right corner. If it’s not there, you won’t be able to get on a plane with that ID from Oct. 1 on. Acceptable forms of ID include: a U.S. passport or passport card, a U.S. military ID, a trusted traveler card (for those with Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST clearance). For other acceptable forms, visit

The Department of Homeland Security is working with states and territories to ensure they are issuing REAL ID-compliant IDs by Oct. 1. If you need a REAL ID, check with your state’s DMV about issuance.

Largay Travel president Amanda Klimak was on Capitol Hill last week as part of a contingent from the American Society of Travel Advisors. As the lead advocacy group for travel advisors, providers and their clients, ASTA lobbied members of Congress in support of the Trusted Traveler Real ID Relief Act, which would allow travelers to use additional forms of ID, such as Known Traveler Numbers (obtained through TSA PreCheck and Global Entry programs), to board domestic flights.

“The safety of the traveling public is always a priority,” Klimak said. “However, the REAL ID bill was designed over 15 years ago and needs to be updated to reflect the current needs of the traveling public. If the bill remains as currently written, after Oct. 1, 2020, if you are traveling and your ID is lost or stolen, there is no provision that would allow you to return home, which currently exists in an alternate screening procedure.”

Also last week, DHS announced that residents of New York state are no longer eligible to enroll in Trusted Traveler programs (Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST).

The last thing you want to do is show up at the airport and be surprised to learn you don’t have what you need. You can always buy a toothbrush if you forgot yours, but if you don’t have the proper identification, you’re in real trouble. Make sure you are prepared with the right ID before Real ID goes into effect.

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