Real IDs required in one year; most Americans not prepared
By: Brittany Comak
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) - In just a year's time, your short flight to Baltimore will require a passport. Either that or you'll need to upgrade your driver's license to a Real ID.
All Americans will need either a Real ID or passport to get on a plane, or to enter any federal building by October 1, 2020.
A new study out by the U.S. Travel Association indicates that the majority of Americans, (72 percent), are not ready.
"We unfortunately do anticipate kind of a rush before October first 2020," said Diana Imondi of AAA. "Some people are actually unaware if they've processed."
The Real ID requires extra documentation compared with a regular license renewal that verifies your identity, social security number, and address.
AAA is warning people there will be added wait time to get the Real ID. They've added extra staffing and parking at their Providence branch to accommodate.
"People are coming in for their normal renewals right now without the anticipation that it does take a little bit of extra time," explained Imondi.
It's the federal government's way of standardizing and securing identification through legislation that was passed by congress following 9/11.
"One thing for them to think about is, 'Do I travel? Am I somebody who's going to be on a flight – is it once a year? Twice a year? Are you a business person?'" explained Department of Revenue Spokesperson Paul Grimaldi.
If you don't travel, you can simply renew your license, which will now say 'not for federal identification' on it.
Or you can use your passport.
"Anything you would need to do with your driver's license today, you can do with that new standard license tomorrow," explained Grimaldi. "The only difference is you couldn't walk into Green airport and show it as ID to get on your Southwest flight to Florida."
The Department of Revenue anticipates more than 400,000 Rhode Islanders will get a Real ID in the next year, and they say do not wait until the last second.
"We don't want people to get hung up at the airport because they don't have the proper identification," said Grimaldi. "If it's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and you're looking for a real ID, you're out of luck. You're going to be taking the bus."
The only difference you'll notice on the physical license is the star in the right hand corner.
Since the state started issuing them in December, 12 percent of licensed drivers in Rhode Island have gotten the Real ID.
You can find what documents you will need to apply for the Real ID, here.