The deadline to obtain a REAL ID is quickly approaching. In fact, it’s less than a year away when a standard driver’s license will no longer be valid for domestic air travel or for entering certain federal buildings.
On a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. The program aims to create a more secure issuance of identification while combatting terrorism. The date for compliance had been set for October 2021 but due to the pandemic, the date was pushed back to May 3, 2023.
Once the requirement is in effect, domestic travelers 18 and over will need to show a REAL ID-compliant license, valid passport or other acceptable form of federal identification to board a domestic plane or enter a federal building.
Passports will continue to be accepted as valid forms of ID and children under 18 do not need to show identification for domestic flights.
Transportation officials nationwide are encouraging travelers who have not yet gotten their REAL ID, to plan ahead and make sure they have the proper documentation in order to secure their ID in time for the 2023 deadline.
In order to obtain the REAL ID, travelers need to apply in person only through their state motor vehicle department.
And while every state has different requirements as to what documents are accepted to obtain the ID, applicants can visit their state’s website for more information about regulations and requirements. No matter what state, all documents submitted must be original or certified and not photocopies.
In Massachusetts, members of AAA, can make an in-person appointment at a participating location rather than the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
“While federal REAL ID travel requirements won’t take effect until May 2023, and customers with a valid passport may never need a REAL ID, the RMV and our partners at AAA stand ready to accommodate and provide plenty of time for customers to take advantage of a REAL ID upgrade,” said Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie.