To Board That Plane, You’ll Need To Get “Real” With The “Real ID”

I was talking to someone the other day about the new Florida “Real ID,” and they said they had never heard of it.

Oops. That could be a problem next year. You won’t be able to board a domestic flight without this newfangled ID.

Never heard of it? You’re in good company. The New York Times says the majority of Americans have IDs that won’t work under the new rules.

“If Real ID went into effect tomorrow, almost 80,000 people trying to board a plane would be denied on Day 1,” the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement, reports the New York Times.

So just as a quick heads-up, here’s the real deal about the Real ID.

The “Real ID” is the new standard for state driver’s licenses and identification cards. You can see a sample in the photo. Each state issues its own Real ID, but all have a special gold star or another symbol in the top right corner.

You need to have a “Real ID” if you want to board a commercial airplane starting October 1, 2020. No Real ID? No boarding the plane. You can still use Passports or Global Entry cards to make it through security, but most travelers inside the U.S. still use their trusty driver’s license to pass go. Of course, that license won’t work after October 1, 2020 if it’s not a Real ID.

The Takeaway: Don’t wait until the last minute to ensure your ID is up to snuff.

You probably already know that getting a new license can be a mind-numbingly long and frustrating experience. When I renewed my license (and got my Real ID), I tried to make an appointment, only to find that the next available appointment was in three months. Next best thing: I showed up early in the morning and waited my turn. In all fairness, it took under two hours, which I thought was pretty good under the circumstances and beat my expectations.

Some states aren’t even issuing Real IDs yet, and others are backed up, so try not to wait until the last moment to get yours (can you tell I’ve already had this conversation with my kids?).

For more info on Florida’s Real ID, click here. Before you apply, check out the new requirements for documents you need to take.

For Homeland Security guidance, click here.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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