The REAL ID Act was implemented as a way to standardize licensing across the country resulting in a more secure process of identification. Formerly many states had identification confirmation procedures that varied widely from strict and secure to lax and easily manipulated. The REAL ID act set up minimum security standards across the board to ensure that a compliant ID card or license from any state could be trusted for any interaction with federal agencies for official purposes.
Is There A Penalty For Not Possessing A REAL ID?
While a REAL ID is not mandatory, there are restrictions that go into effect on October 1st, 2020 for anyone who does not possess an ID with a gold star on the upper righthand corner. Don’t worry, your everyday activities such as driving and general identification purposes are not affected by the lack of a REAL ID. Despite this, there are definite reasons you will want to posses a REAL ID before the deadline passes.
What Happens If I Don’t Have A REAL ID After October 2020?
If you do not posses an ID card or driver’s license with the gold star by the time the October 1st, 2020 deadline arrives, you will no longer be able to board and fly on commercial aircraft without a second form of federally acceptable identification. You will need to bring both your noncompliant identification along with a valid U.S. Passport, or other federally acceptable identification in order to board the plane even for domestic flights. This new requirement will be the latest addition to the list of activities covered by the REAL ID Act which include:
- Boarding commercial aircraft that are federally regulated
- Accessing federal facilities
- Entering a Military base
- Entering nuclear power plants
How Do I Get My Gold Star?
If you are missing the gold star on your driver’s license or state identification card you can update your identification by bringing the necessary documents to your local DMV office. You will need to bring an original copy of primary identification, proof of social security and proof of residential address. A detailed list of required documents needed for U.S. Citizens to obtain a REAL ID can be found here.
The move towards REAL ID compliance nationwide is one of many efforts to increase national security and the safety of citizens across the country. Updating your noncompliant identification is a fairly quick and easy process, but it cannot be completed online. Once updated, the necessary documents will not be required again unless your information changes in the future. If you lack the gold star, consider updating your identification before October 1st, 2020 in order to avoid the extra hassle and requirements when taking commercial flights.
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