Note: The REAL ID implementation date, originally scheduled for October 1, 2020, has been postponed to Oct. 1, 2021, in response to the COVID-19 situation.

A major topic of discussion in the travel industry, REAL ID is scheduled to take effect later this year. It was a focus of conversations on Capitol Hill during the February 2020 ASTA Legislative Day, where travel advisors met with legislators from across the country to advocate for greater communication and publicity surrounding the initiative.

Beginning October 1, 2020, every commercial air traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the United States. Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly.

According to a January 24 press release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, states have reported that they have collectively issued more than 95 million REAL ID-compliant forms of identification, just 34% of the 276 million total identification cards.

ARC recommends that agencies take a proactive approach to ensure their customers travel with REAL ID-compliant identification, and to encourage those without REAL ID-compliant identification not to wait until the deadline.

To hear more about what travelers should be aware of concerning REAL ID, watch the free webinar recording from February 26 featuring Steve Yonkers, director at the REAL ID Program Office.

The following links provide more information about REAL ID: