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Security measures have revolutionized across the country in federal buildings and airports. Protecting citizens and ensuring their safety is a top priority of Congress and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To hold safety up to new standards, the Real ID Act (the Act) was proposed and approved to be implemented throughout all of the United States. The Act serves many purposes, but most citizens will need it for boarding a plane. Back in 2013, the DHS announced its plans to implement the Act. Five years later, many people are still unsure what it even is.

The Act will require everyone who is entering a federal building or boarding a commercial flight to have a Real ID card. Beginning in October 2020, to enforce stronger security and safe passage onto flights and into federal buildings, you will be required to have a Real ID card. A Real ID card goes beyond the standards of state-issued driver’s licenses. It’s a federal issued ID Card that will cost $30 to obtain. You will be charged an additional fee of $30.50 when it’s time to renew the card. Like a driver’s license or any other standard ID, the card must be renewed every four years.

Depending on the state you live in, you will not be required to update the ID you have now for another four years. But it’s a good idea to obtain one from your local DMV just to be safe. If you’re planning on flying anywhere or entering a federal building, you will need to have a real ID card to get in. Unless you possess another federal ID like a U.S. passport, a passport card or a military ID, you will not be allowed to board your flight. Although it may sound like a hassle to get a new form of identification just to fly somewhere or go inside a federal building, these Real ID cards set new standard for safety.

The tragedy of September 11 forever changed the United States which led Congress to enforce new safety measures. The Real ID card will better safety and make everyone more protected. The IDs are available in most states already, but some won’t make them available until next year. Until 2020, the standard state-issued driver’s license or ID card you have now will gain you access to commercial flights and entrance to federal buildings.