Real ID required to fly starting October 2020


Airplane travelers will soon be required to have additional identification.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, travelers who wish to fly on any airliner in the U.S. will require an identification called “REAL ID compliant.”

According to the Transportation Security Administration, a REAL ID compliant ID is any form of state issued identification that has been enhanced with REAL ID verification.

The “REAL ID Act” was passed by congress in 2005 after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission,  recommended that the federal government set clear standards for issuing forms of identification such as driver’s licenses, passports or military identification. The legislation prohibited federal agencies from accepting any form of identification that does not meet the standards set in place by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Department of Homeland Security website, the enforcement of the legislation took place in four phases since President George W. Bush signed the act into law in 2005.

Ensuring that all U.S. citizens that board a federally regulated commercial aircraft have a REAL ID compliant form of identification is the final phase of enforcement.

According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, identification that is REAL ID compliant are indicated by a yellow star at the top right corner of the driver’s license. In the state of Louisiana, every state issued driver’s license is automatically REAL ID compliant.

Lori Ostarly-Ulfers, instructor of history, explained what the government is trying to accomplish by requiring REAL ID for air travel.

“Some feel the government is trying to set up a national database, but I have my suspicions,” shared Ostarly-Ulfers. “Maybe it won’t create one big database – just a bunch of smaller ones linked together to act like one big database. Those linked databases contain the amassed details of millions of identification documents necessary for air travel and access to government facilities.”

Ostarly-Ulfers feels that nationally, the public will likely be overwhelmed by the need of new identification.

“The American public is going to be confused by the issuance of this new identification,” said Ostarly-Ulfers. “Here in Louisiana, you do not have to worry about getting a brand new form of ID, but I cannot say the same for other states. Many may feel as if the government is taking control of more aspects of their life because of these new requirements.”

Ostarly-Ulfers has also  expressed concern that increased reliance on REAL ID could lead to an increased risk of hacking.

“So much has changed in terms of the laws and governance of the United States since the turn of the millennium,” said Ostarly-Ulfers. “These laws were put into place becaused we had increased fears of terrorism after 9/11. I fear that the REAL IDs are going to create a new avenue for identity thieves to exploit.”

Forms of identification that do not meet the requirements must become REAL ID compliant by October 1, the same day that the federal requirements go into place.

For more information regarding REAL ID and other security requirements for flying, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website. To ensure that a driver’s license or any other form of identification is REAL ID compliant, visit the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles website.