Heads Up! Your Driver’s License Needs a Star If You Want To Travel

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Listen up, travelers! If you don’t have a gold star on your state-issued identification card or driver’s license, it won’t be considered a valid form of identification when you travel after October 2020. Air travelers will need to update their state-issued ID or driver’s license at the DMV to comply with the United States’ federal law REAL ID act of 2005, which has created minimum security standards for issuance of  state-issued IDs as acceptable documents.

According to the Department of Public Security website, Real ID-compliant cards are marked with a star which appears in the upper right corner above the expiration date. You can find out if your ID is compliant through the DPS website. If your ID doesn’t have a star, you can always apply for a new state ID or unexpired state driver’s license online.

Message from DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf on REAL ID

Beginning October 2020, all travelers over the age of 18 will need to have a REAL ID card. Don’t have an ID card with you? No worries, you can use other forms of identity documents approved by TSA such as:

  • Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler card
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card
  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Permanent Resident Card

It is important to know that you will not be allowed to fly if you have no acceptable form of ID such as the ones above. Along with a temporary driver’s license, noncompliant state IDs, and weapon permits will not be accepted. Once the changes go into effect on October 1, 2020, travelers who can’t prove who they are with one of the acceptable forms, will not be allowed past TSA. Children, whose date of birth puts them under the age of 18-years-old, will not be subject to this scrutiny if traveling with an adult.

Of course, during these times, air travel is weary because of the COVID and the coronavirus pandemic. But, that means it’s all the more reasons to make sure everything is in place regarding a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. It’s always important to make sure you have your birth certificate and social security card handy just in case you need those as well, while getting a new license. And understand that this won’t be the first time or last time you’ll need to update your ID.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 19, 2019.

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