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Almost three out of four Americans are unprepared for the October 1, 2020, deadline for full implementation of REAL ID, and millions could be prevented from boarding a plane because they do not have the required identification, according to a new study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.

On that date, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will implement the last phase of enforcement of the REAL ID Act—the law originally passed in 2005 which will require travelers to present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other approved form of identification to board a flight.

According to the survey conducted for U.S. Travel by Longwoods International, a market research consultancy, 72 percent of Americans either do not have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or are unsure if they do. Check your driver license for the gold star at the top on the right to show if you are REAL ID compliant. If not, go to your local DMV office to update your license.

The study also revealed a significant REAL ID awareness issue, with more than half of Americans (57%) saying they did not know about the upcoming deadline.

Many Americans also lack the alternatives to REAL ID-compliant, state-issued driver’s licenses—such as a U.S. passport. 39% of Americans say they do not have any form of identification that will be accepted starting October 1, 2020.

This equates to an estimated 99 million Americans that may not currently hold the proper identification to board an airplane starting next October.

What are the alternatives to getting a REAL ID?

  • Designate registered traveler enrollment as an acceptable alternative: Utilize the existing security and identification features of trusted traveler programs, including TSA Precheck, to reduce the need for a REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s license at airport checkpoints.

Author: Adam Leposa
Online Managing Editor

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