Washington residents will need REAL ID-compliant identification to fly starting October 2020

Local Press Release
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

SPOKANE, Wash. - Officials with Spokane International Airport, the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today reminded Washingtonians that starting Oct. 1, 2020, travelers 18 years and older will need a REAL ID-compliant form of identification to board a commercial flight.

Congress passed The REAL ID Act in 2005. It enacted a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission that established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. The Act further prohibited federal agencies, including the TSA, from accepting state-issued driver licenses or identification cards that do not meet the minimum standards.

Larry Krauter, CEO, Spokane International Airport stated, "We are working closely with our partners at the Department of Licensing and TSA to make sure that Washington state residents are prepared for the full implementation of REAL ID as related to air travel.  We want to ensure a smooth transition over the next year so that we avoid serious disruptions to travel plans, particularly during the busy 2020 Holiday travel season.  Given our substantial growth, our screening checkpoints are challenged when everything is going well, and we want to avoid passengers being turned away at the checkpoints because they do not have a REAL ID compliant license or other alternative like a U.S. passport."

Now is the time for residents to plan ahead and be ready to ensure compliance with REAL ID requirements. A Washington driver license that is REAL ID-compliant will have the words “Enhanced Driver License” across the top of the credential.

“We want Washington residents to be ready, and this is a reminder you have one year to look at your identity document options and determine which one best fits your lifestyle,” said Teresa Berntsen, DOL director. “You may already have the travel ID you need if you have one of many REAL ID compliant documents, or Washington’s enhanced driver license or ID card.  We’ve been using our ID2020 campaign to help educate our residents on the various options, and we strongly encourage them not to wait until 2020 to make a decision.”

Travelers can show any REAL ID-compliant identification at the TSA security checkpoint. TSA maintains a full list of acceptable forms of identification. There are a variety of identity documents that can be used to board an airplane or enter secure federal facilities, including:

  • U.S. or foreign passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • Military ID
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • Enhanced driver license
  • Tribal ID
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Washington’s enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are REAL ID compliant, valid for air travel within the United States, and can be used to cross the borders of Canada and Mexico by land or sea. Some commonly needed documents to get an 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.

“The majority of people who travel domestically provide their driver license to the TSA officer at the security checkpoint to confirm their identity,” said Lorie Dankers, a spokeswoman for TSA. “This time next year, the requirements will have changed and TSA officers will be prohibited from accepting identification from a traveler that does not meet the federal REAL ID standards. TSA strongly encourages the public to take steps now to ensure their identification will allow them to fly on Oct. 1, 2020.”

REAL ID is intended to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards while inhibiting the ability of terrorists and others to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Signs are posted at airports nationwide reminding the public that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of identification will be mandatory for air travel beginning on October 1, 2020. TSA also maintains a list of Frequently Asked Questions on REAL ID.