As consumers make travel plans for 2020, AAA is reminding them about another consideration: as of Oct. 1, 2020, they will likely need to present a different form of identification to board a domestic flight. Beginning in October 2020, the accepted forms of identification for boarding domestic flights or for entering most federal facilities will be a current passport, passport card, military ID, or REAL ID-compliant state driver's license. The standard Tennessee driver's license is not REAL ID-compliant and cannot be used to board a commercial flight as of October 2020. Tennesseans are strongly encouraged to apply for a REAL ID at least 20 days before needing to board a commercial flight within the United States, enter certain federal facilities, or enter nuclear facilities before the October 1, 2020 deadline. Your current state-issued license or ID will continue to be accepted until October 1, 2020 for these purposes.
The Tennessee DMV is offering residents the option of either continuing to renew their standard driver's license/ID card OR obtaining a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identity card. To apply for a REAL ID, applicants will need to bring one proof of citizenship or legal presence, one proof of full Social Security Number, and two proofs of Tennessee residency along with documentation to support any name change from your proof of citizenship document. A full list of accepted documents can be found here. REAL ID-compliant identification is marked by a star on the top of the card. Travelers who are not sure if their ID is compliant should look for a star on their ID or check with their state driver's license agency.
This new requirement stems from the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which was passed as a Department of Homeland Security measure. It established new standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards to improve security by making them more tamper-proof.
"AAA is urging travelers to prepare for this upcoming change," said Megan Cooper, spokesperson, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "As the October 2020 deadline draws nearer, it may become more difficult for consumers to obtain their REAL ID, passport, or passport card in a timely manner."
For those who plan to fly domestically and don't have to renew their driver's license before October 2020, AAA suggests they should get or renew a passport or passport card if they don't already have a current one. Passport applications and renewal forms are available online and AAA branches offer passport photo services for both members and non-members.
Those who already have passports that were issued no earlier than 15 years ago can usually renew them by mail. However, first-time applicants, those who have lost their passports, or those with expired passports issued more than 15 years ago must apply in person with a completed application, documents and document copies verifying their identity and U.S. citizenship, and a passport-compliant photo.
Some other points to keep in mind:
• The first application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Services Center or participating County Clerk Partner. Participating locations can be found on www.tnrealid.gov .
• A REAL ID is not required for children under the age of 18. The Transportation Security Administration does not require identification for minors boarding domestic flights (a passport is required for both minors and adults for international flights). However, airlines may have identification requirements for minors such as a certified copy of a birth certificate to verify their age in certain situations when the fare is free or discounted.
• A passport is not a substitute for a driver's license. You still need a valid driver's license to operate a motor vehicle.
• More information about Tennessee REAL ID can be found at www.tnrealid.gov. For more information about passports, visit the U.S. State Department website.
You do NOT need a REAL ID only a Standard ID to:
• Purchase alcohol or cigarettes
• Access hospitals
• Visit the post office
• Access federal courts
• Apply for or receive federal benefits such as social security or veterans' benefits