VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Maybe you’re already thinking about your spring break or summer travel plans.
If those plans include a trip to the airport, this is the last year you’ll be able to do it with a traditional Virginia state ID or driver’s license.
Pretty soon you’ll need a REAL ID to get on a plane, unless you use another REAL ID-compliant form of identification.
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is helping passengers get ready.
The Department of Homeland security is giving notice to travelers.
It’s all part of the national campaign to get the word out.
“The REAL ID is number one, gonna be effective Oct. 1, 2020,” Transportation Security Administration official Chuck Burke said at the airport in Newport News Friday.
The REAL ID is a form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
It looks like your regular driver’s license, but has a star in the upper righthand corner. It stems from the REAL ID Act of 2005.
“We have a lot more security presence in the card itself, so it’s another layer of security, but if we can identify who the person is, and be comfortable with who that person is, it streamlines the process.”
The deadline is Oct. 1 of this year, so if you don’t make the switch, that urge to get away from it all for spring break or vacation will get you nowhere fast.
“You’re really going to be between a rock and a hard place, because a TSA officer is not going to let you get past the checkpoint,” TSA official Lisa Farbstein said.
“So if you have non-refundable tickets, and you’re standing there with your spouse and your kids, and you don’t have the proper form of ID, you’re not gonna catch your flight,” Farbstein added.
That means you also might miss you loved one’s deployment, or homecoming without that critical REAL ID.
The restriction also applies to federal facilities and military bases. Though the deadline is months away, the DMV says it’s best to get the REAL ID ahead of time.
“The closer we get to the October date, the more crowded our offices will be, so if you want to get your REAL ID, I would advise you to come in sooner rather than later,” said Brandy Brubaker, of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.