17:35 PM

Do you have your star? REAL ID one-year countdown starts now

By October 1, 2020, all U.S. travelers must have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or other acceptable form of identification to fly.

Check your driver's license or state-issued ID card. Does it have a star at the top?

If not, you won't be able to use it to identify yourself at TSA checkpoints this time next year, which will prohibit you from boarding your plane. The Department of Homeland Security is urging all U.S. state and territory residents to become REAL ID-compliant by Oct. 1, 2020, in order to use their IDs to board commercial aircraft, as well as to enter federal facilities or nuclear power plants.

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.” This establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, including TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as getting through the airport security checkpoint to board a plane. TSA will, as an alternative, continue accepting passports as a form of ID.

According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, only 16 percent of Americans have a REAL ID and only 43 percent are aware of next year’s deadline.

Those who do not have the REAL ID star should check with their state driver’s license agency, as they may need to go in person to present documentation to verify their identities to obtain a REAL ID card.

To learn more about REAL ID, check out these Frequently Asked Questions answered by DHS: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs