Ask 2: What is TxDPS doing about the upcoming federal requirements established by the REAL ID Act?

Passengers wait to pass through security gates at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Northern California and southern Oregon residents are bracing for a 'bomb cyclone' that's expected at one of the busiest travel times of the year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

The question: What is TxDPS doing about the upcoming federal requirements established by the REAL ID Act?

Stricter ID rules take effect in October 2020 as part of the federal REAL ID Act and the Lone Star State is working to ensure Texans comply with the new requirements.

What the REAL ID Act is:

The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress in 2005. Spurred by the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses,” the law establishes specific federal requirements for state-issued driver licenses used for federal purposes, like boarding a domestic flight or entering a federal building.

The Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet the requirements listed in the act.

While the law was passed in 2005, it does not go into effect until 2020.

What Texas is doing to comply with the REAL ID Act:

The Texas Department of Public Safety began issuing REAL ID compliant licenses in October 2016. If you replaced or renewed your license after October 10, 2016, and have a gold star in the right-hand corner, your card is REAL ID compliant.

Don’t see a gold star on your driver’s licence? Don’t worry. Your card isn’t suddenly invalidated. All Texas drivers licenses and identification cards, both REAL ID compliant and non-compliant, will remain valid until the expiration date printed on the card.

Going forward, you’ll still be able to use your starless license for driving, banking and voting purposes.

But, beginning in October 2020, your starless license won't get you past TSA checkpoints to fly commercially in the United States. Only a passport or REAL ID compliant license will get you to your gate.

Photo: tsa.gov

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