The chaos of the airport is hanging over 181 MILLION Americans who need new identity documents to travel since October as state-issued licenses will not be valid
- Two thirds of 276 million state driving licenses do not comply with the new law
- The fear has arisen that the measure could drastically affect tourism
- More than half of Americans are unaware that they will need ID
- The law means that all travelers will need a REAL ID to fly home
Most American travelers will have to request a new identity document because two thirds of the 276 million state driver’s licenses do not comply with a safety law, raising concerns that the measure could drastically damage tourism.
There are 181 million people in the United States who do not yet have a “REAL ID” and more than half of Americans are unaware that they will need the ID to board a flight, according to research conducted by the US. Travel Association (USTA) conducted for last fall.
The law, applied after the recommendations following 9/11, means that all travelers will need a REAL ID to fly home.
REAL IDs are normally identified by a star in the upper right corner and have so far been issued by all states except Oregon and Oklahoma
It is feared that the tourism industry will suffer if millions of people suddenly find themselves unable to fly when the law enters into force in October.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) interim secretary Chad Wolf said the department is trying to find ways to facilitate the process as the deadline approaches.
USTA’s Tori Emerson Barnes said: “The challenge remains that tens of millions of Americans do not yet have a REAL ID compliant identification.”
Although 48 states issue IDs, people who got their license before implementing their state will need to reapply. Oklahoma and Oregon have not yet started releasing IDs.
It has been felt that the tourism industry will suffer if millions of people suddenly find themselves unable to fly
More than half of Americans are unaware that they will need a real ID to board a flight in October
State DMVs are likely to be overwhelmed by applicants as the October deadline approaches. Credentials are normally identified by a star in the upper right corner.
In an attempt to cushion the impact, DHS announced Wednesday that it would ease restrictions by allowing state agencies to accept identity pre-submission documents online in an attempt to speed up the application process.
However, even if states decide to implement a secure electronic system, travel in person to the DMV would still be required – and documents will still have to be brought to the appointment.
National Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said he is trying to find ways to facilitate the process
DHS said that waiting times would be reduced at the appointment because documents would not have to be scanned.
To obtain a new license, applicants need proof of residence, proof of identity and legal residence in the United States and a social security card.
Wolf said, “Although progress has been made, real work is still ongoing because about two thirds of all licenses currently do not comply with REAL ID.
“Rest assured, our department will continue to explore other viable options to improve this process and continue to do everything possible to inform Americans of the need to obtain a REAL ID by the maximum application deadline later this year.”
The REAL ID requirement was recommended by the 9/11 Commission that the federal government set the standards for ID delivery.
In addition to REAL ID-compliant state driving licenses, travelers can use other forms of identification such as passports or DHS Trusted Traveler cards.