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Government Officials Work To Raise Awareness Of Real I.D. Requirement

Michele Skalicky

Those who try to board a flight in the U.S. or enter a military base or federal courthouse as of October 1, 2020 will have to have a Real I.D.-compliant driver’s license or I.D. card or another acceptable form of identification. Non Real I.D.-compliant Missouri driver's licenses and I.D. cards will not be accepted to board a flight as of next October.

Chuck Kirkland, assistant federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration, said his organization estimates that as many as one million people a day will come to security checkpoints at airports across the country starting next October without a compliant I.D.

"That's important to understand," he said, "because most people have nonrefundable tickets or other expensive elements to their trips, and they may be prevented from boarding an aircraft simple because they don't have a compliant identification."

Springfield-Branson National Airport director, Brian Weiler, said a recent study by the U.S. Transporation Association finds that 75 percent of Americans don't  currently have a driver's license that meets Real I.D. requirements, and 57 percent aren't aware of the deadline for enforcement.  That concerns him.

"With stats like this, it seems likely that next October airports across the country are going to be full of people who can't board flights," said Weiler.

That’s why a press conference was held Tuesday morning at the Springfield-Branson National Airport.  Officials are working through a variety of means to get the word out about the looming requirement.

Ken Zellers, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, said other tools include press releases, website updates, social media, posters, fliers and brochures.

Kirkland called Real I.D. “critical for national security.”  The i.d.s have embedded security features and serve as secure sources of identification, according to Kirkland.

"Where that's important is the secure identification of passengers at our checkpoints is the last  opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are before they board a flight," he said.  "The security objective is to prevent and deter terrorrists' ability  to evade detection by using fraudulent identifcation."

Other forms of identification besides a Real I.D.-compliant driver’s license will be accepted to board a flight, including a military i.d. or valid passport as of next October. 

The Missouri Department of Revenue began issuing Real I.D.-compliant cards in March.  While it's mandatory in some states, obtaining a Real I.D.-compliant driver’s license or I.D. card is optional in Missouri. 

Kirkland advises those who are planning to get a Real I.D.-compliant driver’s license or I.D. card to not wait until just before the October 1, 2020 deadline.

Applying for a Real I.D.-compliant card requires Missourians to show valid, original documents (no copies will be accepted) as well as a non-laminated social security card.  

Learn more about applying for a Real I.D. card and what documents to take to your local Missouri Department of Revenue licensing office here.