Whether you travel for leisure or business, you’ll need to procure a REAL ID. This federally approved identification is a part of your vital documents and the deadline to get one is looming. By May 3, 2023, travelers within the United States must have a REAL ID for all domestic flights and also to gain access to federal buildings and facilities. Now is the time to apply so that your travel plans will not be interrupted.

What is a REAL ID?

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. It came in response to the 9/11 Commission’s proposal that the federal government require security standards at the national level for all driver’s licenses and ID cards before travelers are allowed to board an airplane. This means every state must issue licenses and ID cards that are not only accepted by that particular state, but are also approved federally.

Do you have a REAL ID?

A REAL ID license or ID card is required by law. Every REAL ID card has a star at the top of the card to show at a glance that it is, in fact, real. If you don’t know if you already have one, look for this star. Refer to the DHS.gov website to see examples of the star from state to state.

Most states have already begun implementing changes, however, it is advisable to check with your issuing state to ensure that your current driver’s license and/or ID card is compliant with the REAL ID program.

Why Do You Need One?

In short, REAL IDs are an added level of security to keep domestic flights and federal buildings safer. They might seem a hassle to obtain, and that is the point. REAL IDs are only issued to those who can prove their birth, name, residency, and citizenship. These requirements are designed to prevent anyone without valid identification from boarding domestic flights.

It is also the law. After May 3, 2023, passengers will not be allowed to pass through the airport security checkpoints unless they possess a valid REAL ID. There will be no exceptions. The time is now to apply for your card.

How to Apply

If you have not recently received your license, it likely is not compliant. This is especially true if your state issues licenses with extended periods, such as those with a valid term exceeding five years. While your license might be valid for another few years, it will not matter when it’s time to board an airplane. You will need a REAL ID regardless of your current ID’s expiration date.

REAL ID might seem like a headache, but it will catch a few issues that are even today flying under the radar. That 20-something driver who has not reached their first renewal period will need to get one. So too the senior who no longer drives, yet uses an expired license as their ID. Or perhaps someone who simply holds a state-issued ID and rarely travels, but might need to in the case of a family emergency or a medical issue.

You can check your status at the dhs.gov website to see if you’re ready to apply for a REAL ID or check with the DMV of your state. Once you have all the records you need on hand, you’ll need to make an in-person appointment with your local DMV and have your REAL ID issued.

Beware of Fraud

Since this new requirement will go into effect, fraudsters have found a way to take advantage of those who might be worried as to how to obtain a REAL ID. Please note there are no fees for a REAL ID. All business pertaining to the procurement of a REAL ID will be done at your local DMV or official website portal.

If you’re still not sure whether or not you have a REAL ID, call us today. At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers will help you know what records you need to obtain one. Don’t fight your flight, schedule a free consultation today.