Prepping your travelers for the upcoming REAL ID deadline

updated on 6/27/19

Fox World Travel shares an important update from the Federal Government regarding the REAL ID Act.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act. Check the compliance status of your traveler’s state of residence.  States that were previously non-compliant must meet federal requirements to add extra security features to their driver’s licenses by the deadline or receive an extension.


Target deadlines:

DHS has granted an extension through dates in 2019 to those states that are currently non-compliant with REAL ID requirements. DHS recommends travelers regularly check the compliance status.  If your employees reside in a state that is green, they can continue using their driver’s licenses or state IDs through October 01, 2020.

If your employees reside in a state that is yellow with an approved extension, they should prepare now for an alternative approved ID (passport) to pass through TSA security checkpoints for domestic travel in the event their state does not become compliant or receive an approved extension.                                                  

October 01, 2020:  The final DHS deadline is October 01, 2020, when every U.S. traveler will need a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or alternative approved ID to fly domestically within the United States.

Update (6/27/19): With the date being postponed many times, some are speculating what the deadline will once again be extended. Homeland Security has come out and stated though that there are no plans to further the deadline and that all should prepare for October 1, 2020.

What does a REAL ID look like?

If you are wondering if the ID you carry if up to date with REAL ID standards, you can easily check by looking to see if there is a star located in the upper right-hand corner. If your ID contains a star, you are up to date and compliant with REAL ID standards.


What can travel managers do?

We encourage you to share this information with your travelers via your usual communication channels.  Encourage them to check the compliance status often of their state or territory.  If your employees reside in a state with an approved extension, they should prepare now for an alternative approved ID to travel domestically in the event their state does not receive an extension or become compliant.

For background and additional information about the REAL ID act, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s FAQs about the REAL ID program.

Fox World Travel will continue to publish periodic updates around REAL ID status, enhancements, and changes as information becomes available.

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