What to Know About the Real ID Act

Young Driver

After almost 15 years, the Real ID Act will finally be fully implemented in the United States by Oct. 1 2020.

Passed by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Real ID Act was established to set stricter security standards for state-issued driver’s license and ID cards. It also prevents federal officials from accepting identification from states that do not comply with these standards. The act was aimed at preventing airline terrorism by increasing the document requirements when boarding domestic planes.
The Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies will now require residents to show more paperwork, including their proof of residency and Social Security number, when issuing licenses and ID cards under the new act.

In Louisiana, the deadline for drivers to get Real IDs ended at Oct. 10, 2018. Now, Louisiana’s citizens will need a Real ID to board a plane, since airports are considered federal facilities. However, starting Oct. 1, 2020, every adult U.S. resident will need to present a Real ID-compliant license to access a commercial aircraft.

Many states, aside from Louisiana have already started issuing the Real ID license, which has a star in the top right corner. However, a Real ID isn’t a substitute for a passport. Real ID also does not apply to voting, receiving federal benefits, entering federal facilities that do not require identification, accessing medical services or participating in a police investigation.

Children under 18 do not need to provide their identification; hence, they will not be issued a Real ID card. However, their adult companions will be required to do so. If the travelers cannot produce an acceptable form of identification, he or she will not be allowed to board their flight.

If you do not have your Real ID by now, do not wait for the end of 2020 to get one. In some states, it may take you weeks or even months to get an appointment to update your license at a local DMV. By applying now, you can avoid the last-minute panicked rush.