Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

1 Year Until the REAL ID Deadline

One year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days…no matter how you say it, there’s no denying it: the REAL ID deadline is one year away.

Beginning October 1, 2020, every traveler 18 or older must have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to fly domestically (within the United States). If your ID is not REAL ID-compliant, you must present a different form of ID, like a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to TSA to board a plane. If you don’t have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification or any other acceptable form of ID, you won’t be allowed to fly. Seriously. TSA and the Department of Homeland Security are not joking around with this.

To get a REAL ID, you must go to your state’s driver’s license agency (aka the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV) and bring documentation that proves who you are and where you live. Check with your DMV to be sure you bring the right things before you go. Many DMVs’ websites have checklists for you to follow.

For example, if you got married and your current last name is different than the one on your birth certificate, you should bring:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • W2 with your current name and social security number
  • Valid driver's license with current address

It may seem like plenty of time, but a year can pass by before you know it. Get your REAL ID now or get used to flying around the U.S with your passport.

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