The REAL ID deadline is looming and most Americans aren’t prepared. Here’s what you need to know: as of October 1, 2021, if your driver’s license or government-issued ID isn’t REAL ID-compliant, TSA cannot accept it as official identification. Of course, passports will always be considered an acceptable form of ID, and domestic travelers under the age of 18 aren’t required to present identification, but for those of us who are used to flying with just a driver’s license, as of October, those licenses must be REAL ID-compliant.
How do you know if your license is REAL ID-compliant? REAL ID cards have a special marking in the top right corner. The symbol varies by state, but most are a star. If your ID doesn’t have one of these markings, it will not be accepted as proof of identity by TSA.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to apply. Millions of Americans still don’t have theirs, which means as the deadline approaches, wait times will soar. Requirements vary by state, but all involve an in-person visit to a DMV as well as the presentation of documents such as birth certificate, proof of address and social security card. For more information, visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id.
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