Detroit Free Press: Real ID compliance may leave up to 85,000 stranded, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters isn't having it
The Real ID Act deadline is fast approaching, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters is not convinced all Michiganders are ready.
On Jan. 24, Peters co-authored a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise concerns about travel interruptions that could arise if travelers fail to present Real ID Act compliant identification after the Oct. 1 deadline, according to a news release.
The Real ID Act will require all travelers over age 18 to present Real ID-compliant identification to fly.
The main concern of Peters and his colleagues stems from their belief that travelers are not well informed regarding the Real ID deadline, and that DHS does not plan on extending it.
“DHS’ efforts will play a crucial role in ensuring that the public is aware of the deadline and takes the necessary steps to acquire compliant identification,” the letter states.
“It is critical that the department do everything possible to ensure that Americans are not needlessly prevented from boarding flights to engage in business and tourism and visit family and friends.”
According to the letter, only 27% of Americans have been issued compliant IDs, and 43% don’t know about the deadline.
This puts as many as 85,000 travelers at risk of being blocked when flying if DHS does not take steps to improve public knowledge and preparedness, the letter says.
But do you need a Real ID?
- A Real ID is a driver’s license or state-issued identification card with a golden star on the top right corner, and it will only be necessary to fly domestically after Oct. 1.
- Enhanced driver's licenses don't have a golden star, they have a flag instead, but they still qualify under the Real ID act.
- According to the Michigan Secretary of State website, Michigan residents boarding a domestic flight or entering certain federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants must show a Real ID compliant document after the deadline.
- A valid passport can be used to board domestic flights instead of a Real ID. A Real ID driver’s license is not valid identification to board international flights, a valid passport is required.
- Driver’s licenses that are not Real IDs (do not have a golden star in the top right corner) will still be valid after the deadline. Motorists can use them to drive, but will not be able to board domestic flights with them.
- State issued identification cards that are not Real IDs will still be accepted at the polls.
By: Andrea Perez Balderrama
Source: Detroit Free Press
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