Washington residents to need REAL ID for airline travel by October 2020

A driver displays sample passport cards and Washington state enhanced IDs, which are acceptable at the ‘Ready Lane’ at the border crossing between Washington and British Columbia. (Photo by U.S. Embassy in Canada, via Flickr.)

Washington residents have until October 2020 to get an enhanced driver’s license or ID card — or rely on a passport or other federally recognized identification — to get through airport security.

Federal, state and local officials this week issued a reminder to get ready for the 2020 deadline.

The federal REAL ID Act requires federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, to accept only identification that confirms the citizenship of the holder and the holder’s identity. Non-citizens are ineligible for the Washington enhanced driver’s license or ID card, but can use other forms of federally recognized identification.

While the Washington state enhanced drivers license and ID meet these regulations, the standard-issue Washington state drivers license and ID cards do not require information about citizenship.

Driver’s licenses aren’t the only types of documents that can be used to board an airplane or enter secure federal facilities. Other options include:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. or foreign passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • 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
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • 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

Some commonly needed documents to get a Washington state EDL/EID are certified birth certificate, U.S. passport, or military ID. A full list of document options to obtain an enhanced driver license or ID card is available on the DOL website.

In a statement, Department of Licensing Director Teresa Berntsen advised Washington residents to not wait until next October to find out if they have identification they can use at airports.

“You may already have the travel ID you need if you have one of many REAL ID compliant documents, including Washington’s enhanced driver license or ID card,” Berntsen said in the statement. “We strongly encourage our residents not to wait and get prepared now.”

For more information, go to https://id2020wa.com/

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