Washington is moving toward compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005, meaning residents will, by October 2020, need to obtain enhanced identification if they want to fly on commercial airlines.
In little more than two weeks, Washington residents renewing their driver’s licenses will notice a small but important change.
The state will begin marking standard driver’s licenses, as well as identification cards, as not meeting federal standards.
In the upper right side of a driver’s license the words “Federal limits apply” will appear starting July 1. And those words could disrupt your travel plans starting Oct. 1, 2020. That’s because the standard license or I.D. won’t be accepted as identification if you want to board a commercial airliner.
To fly, gain entry to military bases and enter certain other federal facilities, you’ll need an enhanced license.
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It’s a step toward meeting the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005, which heightened requirements for accepting documents at the federal level.
While enhanced driver’s licenses and I.D. cards have been available for years, most people have opted for the standard license or I.D. card, which will still be available. The state Department of Licensing has planned a public education program to explain the differences, but here are a few of the basics:
What’s the difference between a standard driver’s license/I.D. card and an enhanced one?
The standard driver’s license will still provide identification and allow the operation of a motor vehicle but won’t be accepted at airports by the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) after Sept. 30, 2020.
The enhanced driver’s license provides identification and allows the operation of a motor vehicle access to military bases and other federal facilities and will be accepted at airports for domestic travel. It also allows for re-entry into the U.S. at land and sea borders between the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
The same provisions apply to identification cards and enhanced I.D. cards, the difference being they don’t allow driving.
You can tell the two kinds of cards apart because language in the top right corner will state either “Federal limits apply” or be labeled “Enhanced” for the expanded privileges.
A standard driver’s license or I.D. card costs $54. An enhanced driver’s license or I.D. card will cost $78. All are valid for six years.
In order to obtain an enhanced document, you’ll need documents providing your citizenship, identity, residence and a Social Security number. All documents must be originals or government-certified copies.
Proof of citizenship can be a passport or passport card, a certificate of naturalization or citizenship, or a birth certificate. For identity, a U.S. passport, driver’s license, state-issued I.D. card, U.S. military I.D. or government employee I.D. will work.
To verify your Social Security number, you can bring a Social Security card or a pay stub or W-2 form with your Social Security number visible.
You need two documents to prove residence in Washington state. Those can be a Washington school transcript or report card from a previous or current school year, a bill dated within two months, a Washington voter card, a pay check or stub within two months or several other documents. The full list can be found at www.dol.wa.gov.