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Alaska encourages residents to get REAL ID-compliant driver license

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has reminded Alaska residents that starting Oct. 1, 2020, all travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant driver license, identification card or another acceptable form of identification to board a commercial flight.

To determine if an Alaska driver license or identification card is REAL ID-compliant, look for a star within a black circle in the upper right-hand corner. The presence of this icon will indicate that the credential is REAL ID-compliant.

Congress passed The REAL ID Act in 2005, enacting a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission that established minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. The Act further prohibited federal agencies, including the TSA, from accepting state-issued driver licenses or identification cards that do not meet the minimum standards.

“Starting Oct. 1, 2020, TSA will no longer be permitted to accept state-issued driver licenses or identification cards from travelers if the credential does not meet the REAL ID standards,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Alaska, Peter S. Duffy. “Most travelers use their driver license as their picture ID, so we are encouraging Alaskans to act now and make sure their license meets REAL ID standards.”

“It’s important that Alaskan residents consider that although they may not intend to travel, there’s the possibility that they may need to travel for unanticipated reasons such as family matters or being medevacked to a city where a federally-compliant ID is required to board an aircraft home,” said Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

The Alaska DMV has been working with rural community leaders to overcome challenges related to DMV access in rural Alaska. It recently developed a mobile solution that allows DMV and its partners to travel to remote communities and issue REAL ID-compliant identification.

Currently, state DMV representatives are available at ANC and FAI to answer questions from travelers about REAL ID. In the coming months, they will continue to periodically be on-site at airports and other locations throughout the state as the federal enforcement deadline approaches.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, all travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant state-issued ID or another acceptable form of identification to board a commercial flight or gain access to secure federal facilities, including military bases, nuclear facilities and some federal offices. Now is the time for residents to plan ahead to ensure compliance with identification requirements.

The Alaska DMV began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and identification cards in January 2019. Eligibility requirements include providing proof of identity, legal status in the United States, and Social Security Number as well as two forms of documentation to confirm primary residency in Alaska. More information on applying for a driver license or identification card in Alaska that meets REAL ID standards is available at 

On the TSA website, there is a full list of acceptable forms of identification beyond a state-issued driver license or identification card that TSA accepts at the security checkpoint. Some examples of alternate forms of acceptable identification are a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card; active duty and retired military ID including IDs issued to dependents; federally-recognized tribal-issued photo ID; Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler card including a Global Entry or NEXUS card; and the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

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