If you think back to life before COVID-19, you may have vague memories of seeing a sign at the airport or DMV about something called a REAL ID, and how, if you wanted to keep flying on a plane, you were going to need to get one by a certain date.
Well, that date was today. But you’ll be pleased to know that because of the pandemic that deadline has been pushed back until next year, October 1st, 2021. Which means if you plan on boarding a plane for domestic travel anytime after that date, and chances are you do, you’re going to need a REAL ID. Which means, yes, you’re going to need to make an in-person appointment at the DMV.
Beginning on October 1st 2021, the Transportation Security Administration will officially stop accepting driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards that aren’t REAL ID-compliant at the airport for domestic travel. Travelers who don’t have a REAL ID will need an alternative form of ID to board their plane such as a passport, a military ID, or a Border ID card, or else they’ll be turned away at the security checkpoint.
To obtain a REAL ID you must make an in-person visit to the DMV and bring at least one identity document — though rules vary from state to state — that includes your full name, which can include a valid unexpired U.S passport, a Certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate, a foreign passport with a valid U.S. Visa, Certificate of Naturalization or of U.S. Citizenship, a valid permanent resident card, or a valid driver’s license. You’ll also need to take a new photo, so if you’re in love with your current driver’s license photo, be prepared to have it replaced with your new quarantine-era look.
According to Forbes, REAL ID-compliant cards have beefed up security features and were intended to create a national standard for driver’s licenses as part of the REAL ID Act, which was passed in… 2005 (government sure does move fast!). To apply for your REAL ID hit up your state’s DMV website and make an in-person appointment.