ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Agencies in Missouri and Illinois agencies are urging travelers to not wait as the deadline approaches for the enforcement of the Real ID Act at airport checkpoints across the United States.
“Don't be the person who shows up at the checkpoint with a non-refundable ticket, a non-refundable vacation and you can't get on your flight,” said Sari Koshetz, TSA Spokesperson.
The REAL ID Act followed the September 11 terrorist attacks, and requires that licenses include security enhancements as proof the holder is legally in the United States.
Missouri was one of the last states to roll out REAL ID compliance, partly because of privacy concerns and creating a database that would contain the applicant's personal information.
In addition, those who run DMV offices say many people are confused about what documents they can and can't use to get the REAL ID.
That's why the TSA is trying to get the word out and educate the public before the deadline of October 2020, when regular driver’s licenses will not be valid for any form of air travel.
16 million passengers fly in and out of Lambert International Airport every year, and personnel there are hoping travelers don’t get caught unaware.
“You have regular frequent fliers that may be aware this is coming,” said Lambert spokesperson Leff Lea. “You may have those travelers that routinely bring their passport, but you have the infrequent travelers that may go on vacation once every couple years and they may be caught off guard.”
While passports will be accepted in lieu of REAL ID, only 42 percent of Americans have one, and they're more costly to obtain than a driver's license.
But it’s not just air travel that is affected.
REAL ID identification cards will be needed to get into federal facilities such as military bases or federal courthouses.
In order to obtain a REAL ID card, Missouri and Illinois residents will need several different items as proof of identity and residency.
Illinois residents, check the list here for what documents you need to apply for the REAL ID.
Missouri residents, check out the REAL ID information packet on what you need before you head to the DMV.