The new licenses will have a blue background.

TSA to require ‘Real ID’ to travel

The Transportation Security Administration will enforce new requirements for IDs to get through airport security starting October 2020, and some who still have older driver’s licenses won’t be able to use them to fly.

Those who use a driver’s license as an ID will need one that fulfills the “Real ID” requirement, generally indicated by a star in the top right corner. Another option is to use a passport as ID at the TSA checkpoint.

TSA has started an information campaign to remind travelers they will need the Real IDs to fly starting Oct. 1, 2020. Those without Real ID-compliant identification will not be allowed through the security checkpoint, according to TSA.

TSA spokeman Mark Howell said “we want to make sure everybody has enough time” to get an updated ID, if they don’t yet have one.

There are roughly 8 million registered drivers in Georgia, according to Department of Driver Services spokeswoman Susan Sports.

Georgia started issuing Real IDs, which it calls Secure IDs, back in July 2012. That’s relatively early compared to other states.

Yet because the state in 2010-2012 offered the option for 10-year driver’s licenses, some may still have valid licenses that are not Real ID compliant. The majority of people chose the five-year license.

An estimated 23,000 of the non-compliant cards could still be in circulation after Oct. 1, 2020, according to Sports.

Among those with non-compliant IDs are some veterans. That’s because in 2005, to help tackle long wait times, the state issued long-term driver’s licenses to veterans. Those licenses are valid until age 65, but are not Real ID compliant for air travel starting October 2020.

Today, there are about 447,000 non-compliant cards among the 8 million, according to Sports, but that includes those with regular licenses whose expiration dates will prompt them to get new licenses before October 2020.

“We are in very good shape,” Sports said. “We probably never will get to 100 percent.” For one, the driver’s license rolls include those who may have died, “and we don’t have a system to indicate that,” she said.

Getting a Real ID through the process in place in Georgia since 2012 requires more identification documents than previous driver’s licenses did. That includes a requirement for multiple forms of ID such as a passport or birth certificate, social security card and two documents proving where they live. You can create a custom checklist of documents needed at the website for the Department of Driver Services, which advises that mid-week and mid-day is the best time for shorter waits.

Real IDs will also be required starting Oct. 1, 2020 to get into federal buildings or other federal facilities, including military bases.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.