By Cailey Rizzo
Updated February 21, 2020
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With the Oct. 1. deadline to obtain a REAL ID looming, travelers may have some reprieve thanks to a newly announced option to streamline the process online.

Although applicants will still have to visit the DMV, they will be able to submit proof of their identity and lawful status online before their in-person meeting. The DHS, as of Wednesday, says this will make the process faster and more efficient.

“While progress has been made, the real work is still ahead because approximately two-thirds of all licenses are presently not compliant with REAL ID,” DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf said in a statement. “Rest assured, our Department will continue to examine other viable options to improve upon this process and continues doing everything it can to inform Americans on the requirement to obtain a REAL ID before the full enforcement deadline later this year.”

A REAL ID is different from a regular driver’s license in that it takes stricter security checks to be issued. Currently, 48 out of 50 states are equipped to issue identification that is REAL ID-compliant Oklahoma and Oregon have received an extension, according the DHS.

Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

The process of applying for a REAL ID-compliant state ID could require travelers to provide their social security card, current license, passport or tax information. Travelers should visit their state government’s website on REAL IDs to learn exactly what they will need to bring to the DMV.

A license that is REAL ID-compliant will feature a picture of a star on the upper portion of the ID. Those who do not have a star on their license will not be able to board a domestic flight.

The new security measure keeps in the parameters of the 2005 REAL ID Act that called for heightened transportation security. If you have a passport, you can use that as identification to board all your flights instead of a REAL ID.