REAL ID Act will begin affecting air travelers Oct. 1 - Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association
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REAL ID Act will begin affecting air travelers Oct. 1

What is the significance of October 1, 2020? After this date, federal travel restrictions requiring secure identification go into effect and the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will require a state issued Real-ID compliant drivers’ license or ID for passengers to board airplanes.

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 in response to the 9/11 attacks to establish minimum security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and ID cards used as identification when either flying commercially or entering federal buildings. 

There are a few subtle differences between each state’s execution of their Real ID program. For a complete list of required documentation or for more information visit:

Upgrading to a compliant drivers’ license or ID is voluntary and requires furnishing only a few extra documents. There is no additional charge and drivers are only required to present the documents once during the process to receive future compliant IDs.

Somewhat alarmingly, since the issuance of Real-ID began 18 months ago in Ohio, only 27 percent of the drivers renewing their license have chosen to receive the compliant version. This low conversion rate, coupled with the fact that most of us have not had the opportunity to upgrade our drivers’ license because it is not yet due for renewal, is causing concern as we approach this deadline.  

If you are interested in upgrading your drivers’ license or ID before the deadline, whether you are due for a renewal or not, you will be required to provide documentation proving your name, date of birth and Social Security number in addition to two documents proving your residential address.

Acceptable documents include:
Identity documents
  • Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
  • Unexpired U.S. Passport
Social Security number documents
  • Social Security card
  • W-2 or 1099 form
Residency documents (the most commonly used)
  • Utility company bill (electric, telephone, water/sewer, cable, etc.) issued within one year
  • Credit card bill issued within one year
  • Vehicle registration

If there has been a name change due to adoption, marriage, divorce or any other reason, you will need to provide additional documentation to support the name change. This additional documentation may include, but is not limited to, a marriage license, court order or court decree.

For those who do not have a compliant ID after Oct. 1, a U.S. Passport or passport card can be used as identification to board a flight. Of course, a passport will still be required for international travel.

Haven’t looked at your passport in a while? This may be a good time to check its expiration date as well.

If you reside in Ohio and have questions regarding this process, call GCADA’s Downtown Cincinnati License Bureau Agency at (513) 721-3271 or visit 138 East Court Street – Room 100. Ask for Chris, Judy or Crystal for answers to your Real ID questions.