By Alison Fox
November 26, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security is exploring ways to expedite applications for REAL ID, a specific ID that will be needed to pass through TSA security starting next fall.

DHS is seeking proposals for ways that states could process the applications online for the REAL ID, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020, The Washington Post reported, rather than requiring a potentially cumbersome in-person visit.

Some states are already in compliance with the REAL ID Act and residents there won’t have to change their driver’s licenses. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York, for example, already issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which comply with the new laws, according to the TSA. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses as well.

However, less than a third of driver’s license holders currently have a compliant license, The Washington Post reported.

“The Department is interested in ideas and technologies that could allow applicants to submit their required documents electronically to the DMV in addition to, or possibly in lieu of, applying in person,” a DHS spokesman told the paper.

Currently, REAL ID applicants must bring two proofs of residency (like a utility bill), proof of identity and legal residence in the U.S. and proof of their social security number to the DMV where they have to apply in-person, according to the paper.

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When the law goes into effect, residents of states that do not issue compliant licenses will have to bring a federal ID to the airport, like a passport, military ID, permanent resident card or Global Entry card.

“We strongly urge travelers to take action as soon as possible and ensure they are ready well before the deadline,” Patricia Cogswell, acting deputy administrator for the TSA, told The Washington Post in October.

Tori Emerson Barnes, the vice president of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association, told the paper that we live in “a much different security and technology landscape now than when Congress passed the act in 2005, and as a result there are real opportunities to make the Real ID application process much more efficient, while truly enhancing security.”

The DHS will receive “proposals for an automated option” until Dec. 9, the paper reported.