Many people enjoy traveling by air. But after Oct. 1, 2020, they won't be able to board a commercial airplane in the United States, UNLESS they have the new "Real ID." The new ID will replace current drivers' licenses and ID cards, and will be needed for people to gain entry to certain secured federal buildings and all military posts, as well as to board planes.
Lauren Phillips of the South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles said the Real ID was recommended by the 9/11 Commission to standardize how every state issues drivers' licenses and state ID cards. They've been available since early 2018, and about 580,000 South Carolinians have gotten the new IDs so far. That leaves about 1.7 million people to get the IDs in the next year and a half, she said.
Columbia Metropolitan Airport's Lynne Douglas reports that the airport is already seeing many travelers come through the facility with their Real IDs, though they won't be required until next year. "We're finding that a lot of people are being proactive, so we're very pleased with that, because we don't want this to slip up on folks," Douglas said.
WHAT'S NEEDED TO GET A REAL ID:
Go to your local office of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles with:
- Proof of identity, such as a government-issued birth certificate or a valid US passport
- Proof of social security number, such as a social security card or your most recent W-2 form
- Two proofs of your current physical South Carolina address (no post office boxes), such as electric or water bills
- Proof of all legal name changes, such as marriage licenses, court orders, divorce decrees, etc.
According to Phillips. every single person doesn't need a Real ID if he knows he will never visit a secure federal building, never seek to enter a military post or never fly in a commercial plane. These people can simply reapply for a normal driver's license or ID when the current one expires.
In addition, a valid, unexpired US passport can be combined with a current driver's license or ID to gain entry into the above facilities or board a plane, said Phillips. It's just a little more trouble to carry around a passport all the time.
Real IDs will be identified with a gold star, she said. They will be valid for eight years. Both Phillips and Douglas urge South Carolinians not to procrastinate. There are no long lines at the DMV for Real IDs at the moment - other than normal lines - but as the October 2020 approaches, that will be sure to change.