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Due to the coronavirus, Real ID will become mandatory much later: what you need to know

Due to the fact that during the COVID-19 pandemic, air transportation practically stopped, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) postponed the entry into force of the requirement to use Real IDs for one year - until October 1, 2021, writes CNBC.

Photo: screenshot

“The federal, state, and local response to the spread of coronavirus here in the United States requires an extension of the deadline,” said DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.

States across the country have temporarily closed or restricted access to vehicle departments (DMV), which has prevented millions of people from applying for and obtaining their new IDs that comply with REAL ID Act requirements.

Currently, adults who will land on any aircraft regulated by federal law can continue to use their current driver’s license, as was always the case for domestic flights, until October 2021.

Alternative forms of identification, such as a passport, an "extended ID", a Global Entry card, or other acceptable forms of identification, will also be accepted by airport security.

“Extending the deadline will also allow the department to work with Congress to make the necessary changes to expedite the issuance of Real IDs after the current health crisis,” said Wolf.

What is a Real ID?

Obtaining a Real ID or Driving License is the final step in an act passed by Congress in 2005 after the September 11 attacks, which aims to raise safety standards for state-issued driver licenses. The law prohibits federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees airport security, from “accepting official driver’s licenses and state IDs that do not meet these standards.”

Real ID will be required for at least three purposes:

  • access to federal facilities;
  • boarding a commercial aircraft of federal regulation;
  • visit to nuclear power plants.

The final implementation date is October 1, 2021. By this date, not only all states must issue a driver’s license or an ID card that complies with the Real ID Act, but applicants must also apply and receive documents. At the same time, the new certificate has an alternative - you can use a US passport to fly on commercial flights or gain access to federal facilities.

On the subject: Soon for flights to the USA you will need a Real ID: in what cases can you do without it

What will happen on October 1, 2021?

Federal agencies, including DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and TSA (Transportation Security Administration), may only accept state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs to access federal facilities, including TSA airport security checkpoints, only if these documents are compliant Real ID Act (rights or card must include star marking).

Extended Driver License (EDL) issued in Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont are considered acceptable alternatives to Real ID cards, and are also accepted for official purposes. Most EDLs do not contain star markings, and this is also acceptable.

How to get a Real ID?

Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to see exactly what documents are required to receive your new ID. At a minimum, you must provide documents with the following data:

  • full official name;
  • Date of Birth;
  • social Security number;
  • two proofs of address of primary residence;
  • proof of the legal status of stay in the country.

States may have additional requirements, so check your driver’s licensing agency website before visiting in person for additional guidance and assistance.

On the subject: How to quickly get a Real ID and what will happen if you do not

How do I know if my driver’s license or ID is in accordance with Real ID?

Cards corresponding to the Real ID Act have one of the following marks (see image below) at the top. If the card does not have any of these marks, it does not correspond to the Real ID Act and will not be accepted as an identity card for boarding a commercial aircraft.

Photo: screenshot

Real ID examples:

Photo: screenshot

Photo: screenshot

Do minors need a driver’s license / ID to fly inland?

No. The TSA does not require children under the age of 18 to provide ID when traveling with an accompanying person within the United States. The maintainer will require acceptable identification.

What happens to travelers who do not provide the appropriate document? TSA will not miss them?

Travelers who do not provide a license or a Real ID-compliant driver license or an acceptable alternative starting October 1, 2021 will not be allowed to go through the security checkpoint.

Is a passport the only alternative to a Real ID?

No. TSA accepts several other identification documents. For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding an aircraft, visit the TSA website.

Can I use a Real ID to cross the border with Canada and Mexico and for international travel?

Not. Real ID cards cannot be used for these purposes.

Can I use a Real ID for sea trips?

Not. REAL ID cards cannot be used for international sea cruises.

Do I need a passport if I have a Real ID?

If you are traveling abroad, you will still need a passport. If you are traveling inland, you will only need one valid form of identification - your Real ID or another acceptable alternative, such as a passport, but not both.

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