With REAL ID required to fly just one year away, few are compliant in RI

Local News

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — In exactly one year, you will need a REAL ID if you use your driver’s license to board a flight or enter a federal building in the United States.

However, as of Tuesday, a scant 12% of Rhode Island drivers have taken advantage of the state’s REAL ID program, DMV spokesman Paul Grimaldi told Eyewitness News.

For the past 10 months, Rhode Islanders renewing their driver’s license have had the option to get REAL ID certification at no extra cost.

In addition to basic identification documents typically required, the REAL ID certification requires the presentation of a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or passport, plus your social security card or a document with your social security number on it, and two proofs of residence (which can include a check or utility bill).

You can tell a Rhode Island license is REAL ID certified because it has a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. Other states have other similar badges.

Drivers can choose the REAL ID during their normal license renewal cycle and don’t need to take a separate trip to the DMV — unless that renewal date is after October 1, 2020.

Both the DMV and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been advising travelers to make preparations ahead of the deadline. Signs are posted at T.F. Green and other airports, and public service announcements are sending out the alert. Arriving at the airport without REAL ID certification could add 15 minutes to an hour to the time it takes for you to get past security, due to additional measures necessary to confirm your identity.

If you don’t have REAL ID, you can still board a plane if you have a passport or passport card, or various other types of federally issued IDs that the TSA already accepts (including the expedited clearance programs Global Entry or NEXUS).

There’s no additional cost to get REAL ID certified if you get it during the normal renewal process. The DMV said the program is still optional — and may not be for you if you simply don’t travel by air.

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