Planning On Traveling By Plane Soon? Get A REAL ID

Seven months and counting. That’s how long citizens have to obtain a new travel identification to get through security at airports starting October 1.

Unfortunately, most Americans are not even aware of the deadline, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Potentially tens of millions of them could start converging on airports next fall. Now, is a good time to get the ID to avoid the last-minute rush or being turned away at the airport.

Despite widespread public information campaigns, 57 percent of Americans are not even aware of the new ID, called the REAL ID, according to the Travel Association.

Surveys indicate 99 million Americans do not have any form of REAL ID-compliant identification, said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy of the travel industry advocacy association.

The REAL ID acts as both a driver’s license and a travel ID for domestic air travel. Starting Oct. 1, air passengers 18 and older must have the new REAL ID or other valid documentation such as a passport or permanent resident card in order to fly.

The new travel ID is designed to add another layer of security against terrorism and other threats for people who fly.

Standard driver’s licenses will no longer be accepted at airports. There may be a process at many airports to validate flyers on the spot. But that could still cause delays.

Arizona is doing better than many other states in issuing the new travel IDs. More than 65 percent of eligible Arizona drivers have obtained the REAL ID.

While many people rarely or never travel, it’s still something they should consider, said the director of the state’s Motor Vehicle Division, Eric Jorgensen.

“We know some people rarely, if ever, plan to travel by air, but it’s still important to think about getting the AZ Travel ID anyway,” Jorgensen said in a prepared statement.

“Unexpected events requiring air travel can occur and having the AZ Travel ID is the most efficient and cost-effective solution.”

The state has taken a number of measures to make the process quick and easy.

Arizona has added staffing at the Motor Vehicle Department and Authorized Third Party offices statewide. Anyone can walk in without an appointment or they can make an appointment online at aztravelid.com.

Documents required are:

  • An original birth certificate or valid passport
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Two pieces of documentation such as a utility bill or rental agreement that show a person’s physical address, not a P.O. box

Appointments take about 15 minutes. The REAL ID costs $25.00 and is valid for eight years.

Other forms of federal ID will continue to be accepted at airports and federal-building security checkpoints. The other forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • Department of Homeland Security (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

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