If you’ve been in the airport or the DMV this year, we imagine you’ve seen the signs (literally).


After a mere 12 years of talking about it, the TSA will begin to enforce the REAL ID requirements for flying on January 22, 2018. The Secretary of Homeland Security announced the final phase (phase 4) of implementation this past year. Airline ticket holders (including domestic air travel) who do not have the proper ID will not be permitted to pass through security to their flights.


Here are the answers we’ve gleaned to the pressing questions you may be asking (of course we recommend that you look this up for yourself to be certain you are in compliance).


What is a REAL ID?


The REAL ID is a state-issued driver’s license that meets minimum Federal Government security standards for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. Certain states did not meet the Act’s minimum standards. In these cases, the states are required to provide a driver’s license or identification card that complies with the Federal Government standards.


Why do I need it?


The 9/11 Commission recommended that the Federal Government set a standard for sources of identification like driver’s licenses as an important step in the strategy to protect the American people. The Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 in response to the recommendation.


If I don’t have a REAL ID, what other options do I have?


There are other qualifying IDs that meet Federal Government standards. You can also use a passport, military ID, or permanent resident card to board an aircraft. For a full list of acceptable IDs, click here.


I’ve heard that the deadline is in October 2018, not January 2018. Is that true?


While many states are already fully compliant, some states have been granted special extensions because of circumstances beyond their control. It is really important that you know when your state’s deadline is to be sure you are not left stranded (you can find accurate and up-to-date information here).


What about my kids?


Children under 18 will not need special identification if they are traveling along with someone who has acceptable ID.


Still have questions or need more info?

Visit the Homeland Security website or the TSA Factsheet to get answers to your FAQs.


Ready or not? Here it comes!