Upcoming real ID regulation for domestic flights

Frequent travelers at MVHS discuss how next year’s upcoming real ID regulation between states affects their travels

Sarah Young, Graphics Editor

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, everyone 18 and older travelling from one U.S. state to another will be required to either have a real ID marked on their driver’s license or bring their passport. This is due to the Federal REAL ID Act which places new rules for identification implemented in airports. The real ID — much like a driver’s license — is meant to improve airport security and prove passenger identity. Californian real ID driver’s licenses are marked with a star or a golden bear in the upper right hand corner. 

In order to get a real ID, several forms must be processed at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When getting a driver’s license, an individual can request to have their real ID done simultaneously. For senior Anika Soin, the real ID regulation serves as a bump in the road due to her frequent interstate travel for fencing tournaments — her most recent trip was to Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to this regulation, Soin had been using her regular ID — an ID card issued by the state.

“I have to reapply for another one with the real ID, which is kind of annoying because it’s going to take time to process and I also have competitions coming up once the law comes into effect,” Soin said. “So it’ll be difficult, I have to carry my passport for a few of them, which for me is kind of stressful, [because] I don’t want to lose that — it’s [a] really important document.”

While Soin is troubled by the new regulation, she understands that its purpose is to improve security. Soin hopes to get her real ID as soon as possible with the help of her parents. Currently, Soin hopes to get her driver’s license first and her real ID in the process around January or February.

“The lady at the DMV told me that since I couldn’t apply at the time of my permit, it’s okay to come back during my license and apply for it then, and she could still process all of it,” Soin said. “So I think that’s the most ideal thing, because then I could just get it coupled with my license, and I wouldn’t have to apply separately.”

Art teacher Jodi Johnson is also a frequent flyer, as she visits her family in Montana at least once a year. Johnson got her real ID by registering at the DMV’s online site and bringing in the required forms to a local DMV. While Johnson had gotten there 45 minutes ahead of time, it was still a two hour wait for her papers to be processed. There was also a slight issue with Johnson’s application for a real ID.

“I had heard a while after I did the real ID, that there was an error and they didn’t collect enough verification,” Johnson said. “So the real IDs that were ‘real IDs’ weren’t actually real IDs. So then six to nine months after I got my ‘real ID,’ they sent me something in the mail that I had to then send back to the DMV as part of that finalization of the real ID to make it actually legit.”

Biology teacher Kenneth Gan had an easier time applying for his real ID. Having had his real ID for six months, Gan isn’t as concerned as other travelers. In Gan’s opinion the real ID and regulation is just another part of tighter security, with national security at the forefront of many government officials minds.

The only nuisance that Gan foresees with the real ID system is the required forms. In order to get a real ID applicants must bring with them a proof of identity, social security number and two proofs of current residence. 

Gan however finds this process of getting a real ID to be easier than getting a passport. Gan reasons that having a real ID attached to a driver’s license is more convenient than bringing a passport around — especially with passport replacements being more difficult, in his opinion. 

“Not everyone has a passport, plus the passport steps are a little bit longer. And now with like the idea you can also walk in to the DMV and like renew a patent, renew a driver’s license,” Gan said. “If you need to renew your driver’s license or getting your driver’s license for the first time, you might as well ask for real ID just get it all done with and driver’s license lasts for [approximately] 10 years.”

The real ID regulation has already been compliant in the majority of the states, with only Oregon, Oklahoma and New Jersey being under review or on extension according to the Department of Homeland Security. But with upcoming regulations, all states will now require the real ID for boarding planes. While this does not apply to interstate travel via automobiles, it illustrates the ever-increasing travel security. For Soin and other travelers, a real ID is quickly becoming a necessity with the regulation being enforced next year.

“I mean, this applies to me too, but anyone who travels a lot or knows that they’re going to travel soon after this law comes into effect should really read up on this and get the proper information so that we can prepare properly,” Soin said. “In my opinion, that’s the best thing we can do right now.”