Real talk about the REAL ID (Week 2)

January 9, 2020

OCTOBER 1, 2020

On October 1, 2020, persons who plan to travel domestically as well as enter government buildings, will need a REAL ID. Several questions were asked and answered by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the new compliant ID. This week in continuation of our series on Real Talk About the REAL ID, a few of those questions posed to Homeland Security along with the answers will be presented here.

Question: What happens to travelers who show up without a compliant license. Will they be turned away by TSA?

Answer: Travelers who do not present a REAL ID-compliant license or acceptable alternative beginning October 1, 2020 will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.

Question: What about minors? Will they need to have a driver’s license/ identification card to fly domestically?

Answer: No. TSA will not require children under the age of 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion, however, will need acceptable identification.

Question: Can I use my REAL ID card to cross the border into Canada and Mexico and for international travel?

Answer: No. REAL ID cards cannot be used for border crossings into Canada, Mexico or other international travel.

Question: Do I need a passport if I have a REAL ID?

Answer: If you are traveling internationally you will still need your passport. If you are traveling domestically, you will only need one valid form of identification – either your REAL ID or another acceptable alternative such as a passport or both.

Question: Will the applicant who wears a head covering for religious reasons seeking to comply with the REAL ID Act be required to alter or remove the head covering so that the driver’s license or identification card show their hair or ears?

Answer: No. The REAL ID regulatory standards for the digital photograph recognize that some individuals may wear head coverings for religious or other reasons. However, such coverings should not obscure an applicant’s facial features or generate a shadow. For purposes of the photograph, the face should be visible from the hairline to the chin and forward to the ears, and be free of shadows. The REAL ID regulation does not require the exposure of the hair line or the ears.

Source: Official website of the Department of Homeland Security at

Next Week: Continuation

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