Department of Homeland Security Taps Travel Agents as Real ID Deadline Nears

Uncle Sam needs your help – and your travelers might, too, DHS said. It’s time to begin asking your customers if they have Real ID-compliant identification, and adding a reminder to all bookings for travel beginning October 2020.

In just 20 months, the rules for flying out of any U.S. airport will undergo their biggest change ever — and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is calling on the travel industry to help keep air travelers moving.

“The big issue we have is, do people know this dramatic change is coming, and will it affect all airports simultaneously? The last thing we want is for consumers to show up at the airport and not be allowed to board their flights,” said Steve Yonkers, director of identity and credentialing for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a conference call sponsored by the USTOA. “So, we are trying to work with state and federal government agencies and members of the travel industry” to get the word out.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act set stricter standards for identifying recipients of identification, such as driver’s licenses, and requires that travelers on airlines in the U.S. show ID that is compliant with the new regulations. States have been upgrading their systems to meet the new requirements over the years — but now the final deadline, Oct. 1, 2020, is within the booking window of many travelers.


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