Still Don’t Have A Real ID? You May Soon Be Able To Apply Online

Tick tock, let’s play beat the clock.

In less than a year, U.S. travelers will need Real ID-compliant identification to board domestic flights. Beginning October 1, 2020, travelers who attempt to fly without compliant IDs will be turned away by the TSA at airport security checkpoints.

As of now, it looks like millions of Americans remain clueless about Real ID. In a recent survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, over half of Americans (57%) said they did not know about the upcoming deadline. Almost three out of four Americans – some 182 million travelers – either did not have the Real ID-compliant identification or weren’t sure if they did.

To help increase the number of applications, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now wants to allow travelers to perform at least part of the application process online. According to a new request for information published in the Federal Record, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is issuing this request for information to receive input on technologies that could assist states and their residents in the digital submission, receipt, and authentication of documents and information applicants must provide when applying for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or identification card.”

“We are interested in concepts that reduce application burden, processing time, and administrative workload, and that effectively ensure security, protect privacy, and manage risk of fraud,” reads the document. “We are also interested in concepts that identify the extent to which the additional capabilities or technologies will increase the adoption rate of individuals obtaining REAL ID-compliant identification.”

"We appreciate the good work of the Department of Homeland Security for taking this important step to prepare the country for the 2020 REAL ID deadline,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Travel Association.

“This is one of several policy recommendations we believe are critical,” she said, “and we look forward to working with Congress and the administration to move this forward.”


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I’m always looking for new ways to travel better, smarter, deeper and cheaper, so I spend a lot of time watching trends at the intersection of travel and technology. As