The New Travel ID: What You Need to Know

The New Travel ID: What You Need to Know

For the last couple of years, you have probably heard the words, REAL ID, all over the news.  You may have even seen it referenced in different parts of blogs within the travel world. While everyone was going to need a REAL ID by October 1st of this year, that date has now been extended to October 1st of 2021.  This means you have a little extra time before you need this type of identification for travel within the United States.  

What the REAL ID Really Is

In case you are not aware of what the REAL ID is, let’s give a little overview.  As a way to step up security in the airports around the United States, everyone must have a REAL ID if they plan to fly domestically.  Without the REAL ID, you will not be allowed to clear TSA security starting October 1st of 2021.  The only other option you would have for getting on an airplane is a passport, so feel free to use that if you do not take the time to get your REAL ID before you fly.  

Getting the REAL ID

Obtaining the REAL ID might seem difficult to you at first, because you must physically go to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and take a few extra types of identification with you.  However, other than gathering this additional information, and having a new photograph taken, this process is not really that much more difficult than it has been in the past.  

There are many different types of identification you can take with you that will be deemed acceptable, but the basics include your current driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, bank statement, credit card statement, and a utility bill.  You can also take a valid US passport with you, as that will meet a couple of the identification guidelines.  

People who have already obtained their REAL ID have stated that it is best to have too much documentation with you than not enough, as it prevents a return trip to the DMV.  Simply take all this, as well as the filled-out renewal application, to your local DMV office and you should have your REAL ID mailed to your home within a few weeks.  

How to Know Your License is REAL ID Compliant

When you receive your new license, you will know it is REAL ID compliant, because it will have a star at the top of the card.  

The REAL ID will not cost any more money than a regular license, so you will not need to worry about coming up with any extra cash to have this feature.  It is important to note that a couple states, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, and Vermont, have what is called an Enhanced driver’s license. These types of driver’s licenses cost a little more, but they meet all the REAL ID requirements.  

If you live in one of those states, you may want to consider an Enhanced license, because those licenses allow you to drive between the US and Canada or Mexico without a passport.  You cannot fly between those countries though, so keep that in mind for the future.  

You now have extra time to get your REAL ID for domestic airline travel, but it never hurts to plan ahead.  We understand that these guidelines can be confusing to many people, so please let us know if you have any questions.  We would be more than happy to answer them, so we can get you to where you want to go on your next vacation without any issues!