1 year left! Washington residents will need REAL ID-compliant identification to fly starting October 2020

October 1, 2019

ID laws for air travel are changing in 2020With the REAL ID enforcement deadline only a year away, officials with the Washington State Department of Licensing, Sea-Tac and Spokane international airports, and the Transportation Security Administration are urging Washington residents to act soon to ensure they will be ready to fly.

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 set minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. The legislation further barred federal agencies, including the TSA, from accepting state-issued driver licenses or ID cards that do not meet the minimum standards.

Now is the time to plan ahead and be ready for REAL ID requirements. Do not wait.

“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, including Washington’s enhanced driver license or ID card. We strongly encourage our residents not to wait and get prepared now.”

Travelers can show any REAL ID-compliant identification at the TSA security checkpoint. TSA maintains a full list of acceptable forms of identification. A variety of identity documents will be accepted 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

“TSA accepts more than driver licenses at the security checkpoint as a form of photo identification, so some travelers may already have an acceptable alternate form of ID,” said Deputy Federal Security Director for Washington Chris Baden. “With pending federal enforcement of REAL ID requirements, TSA encourages state residents to take a few minutes to decide what photo identification you plan to use for travel on Oct. 1, 2020 and beyond. A year from today, TSA officers will not be permitted to grant access to the security checkpoint unless the traveler has a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.”

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.

Signs are posted at airports nationwide reminding the public that REAL ID enforcement is coming soon.

“Our priority is the customer experience for travelers at Sea-Tac Airport, but this is also about airports throughout the state of Washington and U.S.,” said Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle. “We are working together with DOL and TSA now to educate the public about REAL ID to ensure our passengers aren’t unpleasantly surprised in October next year.”

Demand for enhanced licenses and IDs will only increase as the deadline nears. By acting now to obtain the ID you need or to renew your license early, you can save yourself time and frustration later – both at DOL offices and at the airport.

“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,” said Larry Krauter, Spokane International Airport CEO. “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.”

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

More information and frequently asked questions about REAL ID can be found at the TSA website. Washington state residents can also learn more at the ID2020 website.


Media Advisory: REAL ID briefing Oct. 1 at Sea-Tac International Airport

September 30, 2019

DOL logoMedia Advisory—For Immediate Release

Sept. 27, 2019

Contact: Kate Hudson, Sea-Tac Airport, (206) 797-4362, Hudson.k@portseattle.org

Contact: Christine Anthony, DOL, (360) 902-3616, canthony@dol.wa.gov

ADVISORY: REAL ID enforcement starts in one year, and Sea-Tac International Airport, Department of Licensing, and Transportation Security Administration want to make sure Washington residents are ready

Representatives from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington State Department of Licensing, and the federal Transportation Security Administration will host a media briefing at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, to talk about REAL ID enforcement one year away.

This will be an opportunity for media to ask questions about what residents need to know before REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020, and what action, if any, they need to take to make sure they have the documents they will need for air travel.

  • Date: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1
  • Location: Sea-Tac International Airport breezeway in front of TSA Checkpoint 3 (between the American Airlines and Southwest Airlines ticket counters)
  • Speakers: Lance Lyttle, Managing Director, Aviation Division, Port of Seattle; Teresa Berntsen, Director, Department of Licensing; Chris Baden, Deputy Federal Security Director for Washington, Transportation Security Administration

Media Advisory: REAL ID briefing Sept. 30 at Spokane International Airport

September 26, 2019

DOL logoMedia Advisory—For Immediate Release

Sept. 26, 2019

Contact: Todd Woodard, Spokane International Airport, (509) 998-7265

Contact: Christine Anthony, DOL, (360) 902-3616, canthony@dol.wa.gov

ADVISORY: REAL ID enforcement starts in one year, and the Spokane International Airport, Department of Licensing, and Transportation Security Administration want to make sure Washington residents are ready

Representatives from the Spokane International Airport, Washington State Department of Licensing, and the federal Transportation Security Administration will host a media briefing at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30 to talk about REAL ID enforcement one year away.

This is an opportunity for media to ask questions about what residents need to know before REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020, and what action, if any, they must take to ensure they have the documents they will need for air travel.

  • Date: 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30
  • Location: Spokane International Airport. Meet near airline ticket counters, adjacent to ramp leading to the A/B security checkpoint.
  • Speakers: Larry Krauter, CEO, Spokane International Airport; Teresa Berntsen, Director, Department of Licensing; Lorie Dankers, Transportation Security Administration

Washington state has met all requirements to comply with REAL ID Act

October 8, 2018
ID2020 logo

On Oct. 1, 2020, the REAL ID law goes into effect in Washington.

The Department of Homeland Security has determined that Washington state is fully compliant with federal REAL ID requirements, which means standard driver licenses and ID cards will continue to be accepted for boarding a domestic flight through September 2020.

It’s important to know that beginning Oct. 1, 2020, individuals will need to present federally acceptable identification at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint in order to board a domestic flight.

“Washington residents have two years to look at your identity document options and determine which one best fits your lifestyle,” said Teresa Berntsen, DOL director. “We created the ID2020 campaign to help residents educate themselves on the various options, and encourage them not to wait until 2020 to make a decision.”

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
  • One of several other types of federally approved forms of identification (tsa.gov)

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 enhanced driver license or ID card is optional. A valid U.S. passport or U.S. passport card, military ID, or other federally approved identification can be used to board a domestic flight or enter certain federal facilities. If a resident has another federally approved identification, does not fly, or does not plan to visit a military base or certain federal facilities such as prisons, they do not need an enhanced card and will have the option to apply for a standard driver license or ID card.

Visit id2020wa.com to view informational videos, take a quiz to help determine which ID you may need, and learn more about REAL ID.

Learn more about REAL ID and what it means for Washington.


Department of Licensing to begin new marking on all standard-issue driver licenses and ID cards starting July 1 to help bring state into compliance with REAL ID Act

June 28, 2018
ID2020 logo

On Oct. 1, 2020, the REAL ID law goes into effect in Washington.

Olympia – Next week, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will begin marking all standard driver licenses and ID cards with the language, “federal limits apply,” to help bring Washington into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.  DOL expects Washington to be in full compliance by fall 2018.

By October 1, 2020, standard driver licenses and ID cards will no longer be an acceptable form of identification for boarding domestic flights and entering some secure federal facilities, like military bases and nuclear power plants. 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
  • One of several other types of federally approved forms of identification (tsa.gov).

“There is plenty of time to educate yourself on all options and choose the identification that works best for you,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “Our ID2020 campaign was created to help educate Washington residents about the REAL ID Act requirements and their options for REAL ID compliant documents if they plan to travel within the United States.”

The main goal of the ID2020 campaign is to help Washington residents decide which identity document best fits their lifestyle.  Even though REAL ID goes into effect on October 1, 2020, it only affects people who want to travel by plane or access certain federal facilities. A standard driver license or ID card will work for other U.S. travel like driving in Washington, across state lines, or riding a train.

Washington’s enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are REAL ID compliant, and 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.

Visit ID2020WA.com, to view informational videos, take a quiz to help determine which ID you need, and learn more about REAL ID.

For more information about REAL ID and what it means for Washington, visit the DOL website


Washington Department of Licensing takes steps to comply with Real ID Act

June 1, 2018

New marking to be added to all standard-issue driver licenses and ID cards

Examples and features of standard driver license and enhanced driver license.

Choose the identification that works best for you. (Click for larger view)

Olympia – Starting July 1, 2018, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will begin marking all standard driver licenses and ID cards with the language, “federal limits apply.”

The change aims to bring Washington into compliance with the federal Real ID Act, which requires all states to mark identification documents that do not comply with the federal law. Under Legislation signed (app.leg.wa.gov) by Gov. Jay Inslee, DOL expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018.

Over the next two years, all Washington residents will have to make a choice about their identity documents. By October 1, 2020, standard driver licenses and ID cards will no longer be an acceptable form of identification for boarding domestic flights and entering some secure federal facilities, like military bases and nuclear power plants.

DOL’s enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are Real ID compliant, and valid for travel as are passports, permanent resident cards and military IDs.

Standard driver license and ID cards can continue to be used for the following:

  • Driving
  • Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Entering a federal facility that does not require ID (post office)

An enhanced driver license or ID card is completely voluntary and optional. Some commonly needed documents to get an EDL/EID are certified birth certificate, U.S. passport or military ID.

full list of document options for obtaining an enhanced driver license or ID card is available on the DOL website.

“If you know you will not be flying or already have a federally approved document such as a U.S. passport, passport card or military ID, you do not need an enhanced driver license or ID card,” said DOL Director Pat Kohler.  “There is plenty of time to educate yourself on all options and choose the identification that works best for you.”

For a full list of federally accepted documents and information about REAL ID and what it means for Washington, visit the DOL website.


State gets a new extension for new federal ID requirements

October 18, 2017

(OLYMPIA) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced all Washington state driver licenses and ID cards can be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, under a REAL ID Act compliance extension that runs through October 10, 2018.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018, under Legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year. DHS has said states that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations.

“This extension gives Washington residents about three more years to decide if they will need a new type of identification. Many already have acceptable federal identification,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said.

When the REAL ID law is enforced in October 2020, no one will be required to get an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card. A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards.