Your Driver’s License may Not be Valid at Airport Security in 2020

Updated October 22, 2019:

If you are planning on traveling on October 1, 2020, or later, your driver’s license may no longer be accepted at airport security if it is not a REAL ID compliant card. This change is due to the REAL ID Act under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Currently, several states are giving residents the option of renewing their license the same way they always have or getting a REAL ID compliant card. Those that choose not to get the REAL ID compliant card will not be allowed through security checkpoints without alternative identification such as a passport or other TSA approved forms of identification in October of 2020.

The states of Oklahoma and Oregon have received an extension until September 18, 2020 and August 7, 2020, respectively. New Jersey and American Samoa are currently under review. The Northern Mariana Islands have an extension until February 28, 2020. That means that residents of those states or territories are unable to get the REAL ID compliant card currently, or it is offered in select locations only.

Other forms of acceptable ID’s at U.S. airports include:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

What is the REAL ID Act?

The REAL ID Act requires states to add more security measures prior to issuing a driver’s license or identification card. This is to prevent the use of fraudulent ID’s. The state must verify the applicant’s identity (proof of legal residence and date of birth), utilizing anti-counterfeit technology in the card and doing a background check on state employees that issue driver’s licenses.

Travelers are receiving a heads-up on the upcoming ID requirements at airports and Federal facilities.

 For insightful travel ideas, check out my book:

Know Before You Go:  Traveling the U.S. and Abroad




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