Air travelers will soon need REAL ID to board planes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Do you have a gold star on your driver’s license?

West Virginia residents who want to board an airplane will soon need a gold star on their driver’s license, indicating that it is a REAL ID credential or they will need another form of approved identification to board their flight or enter a secure federal facility, according to the U.S. Transporation Security Administration.

REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards have a small gold star in the upper right corner to indicate that it meets federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.

The upgraded REAL IDs will be required starting Oct. 1, 2020.

Currently, residents have the option to upgrade to a REAL ID or stick with a standard driver’s license when they get a new license at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.

There is a $10 surcharge in addition to standard fees to get the new license. However, a standard credential—without the gold star—will not be valid to board a flight or to access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices.

To get the REAL ID gold star, individuals will need to go to their local DMV office and provide certain documents to prove U.S. citizenship and state residency.

Required documents include one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, two proofs of state residency, one proof of your social security number (if you’ve been issued one) and a current driver’s license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state. A list of most commonly used documents is posted online.

TSA officers who staff the ticket-document checking station at airports will not allow travelers into the checkpoint without a REAL ID license or another form of acceptable ID after Oct. 1, 2020, because of a federal law, t the REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates that a REAL ID is needed for federal purposes.

REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of driver licenses and identification cards. The improvements are intended to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Travelers will begin seeing new signs at airports nationwide in the coming weeks to remind people that REAL ID-compliant licenses or other acceptable forms of ID, such as a valid passport, federal government PIV card or U.S. military ID, will be mandatory for air travel beginning on Oct. 1, 2020. Anyone who is unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly after that date.

For more information, visit the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles web site.

TSA also has a one-minute video that provides information about flying with a REAL ID.