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Iowa Works to Get Word Out About Real ID Requirements

"Preparations right now are to get the word out," said John Bright, TSA Iowa federal security director. "What we don't want is somebody to come to the airport on Oct. 1 and they can't get on an airplane."

(TNS) — Consider this nightmare scenario: You go to the airport next fall planning to fly to a relaxing vacation, only to have security staff say you can't get on the plane because you don't have the right driver's license.

It's a bad dream that federal, state and local officials are hoping to prevent from becoming a reality for air travelers across the country. By Oct. 1, 2020, Americans must have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or state-issued identification card in order to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. If they don't, they won't be able to board a plane.

"Preparations right now are to get the word out," said John Bright, TSA Iowa federal security director. "What we don't want is somebody to come to the airport on Oct. 1 and they can't get on an airplane."

The REAL ID program, adopted by Congress in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, aims to help states verify the identity of people applying for driver's licenses and cut down on identity theft. Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota all have been issuing REAL ID-compliant documents since at least 2013.

Signage posted near the ticket counter and TSA security checkpoint at Sioux City's Sioux Gateway Airport reminds travelers of the upcoming requirement. Airport operations manager John Backer said he hopes people pay attention to the public information campaigns so they're not caught without a REAL ID when they arrive at an airport next October and are prevented from flying.

"That's the part we're worried about," Backer said. "We're pushing people to hopefully know about this change."

The Iowa Department of Transportation has placed signs in airports, used social media and highway messaging boards and posted information at driver's license stations.

"We do still have some people who are not aware of the requirements, so that's why we're increasing messaging," said Melissa Spiegel, director of the Motor Vehicle Division of the IDOT.

Some will need the reminder, others won't.

While waiting for his flight Thursday at Sioux Gateway Airport, Michael Andreoli said he had heard about the REAL ID requirements by the time he needed to renew his Indiana driver's license.

"I was getting mine renewed, so I just decided to go in early and get one," Andreoli said.

"I wasn't aware of it, but he flies more than I do," Biber said, nodding toward Andreoli. "I'm going to check out if I need to get one."

Spiegel said that since 2013, everyone who obtained their first Iowa driver's license should have gotten a REAL ID, marked by a star in the upper right-hand corner, because they're required to bring a birth certificate and other proof of residence with them. Overall, 36 percent of the state's 2.2 million driver's license holders and 1 million ID card holders have a REAL ID-compliant card.

Iowa drivers due to renew their licenses before next October can bring in the necessary documentation to get a REAL ID-compliant license. Drivers not due for a renewal can update their license before the Oct. 1 deadline for a $10 fee.

Iowa does not require its citizens to get the new ID when they renew their licenses.

"Not everyone necessarily will have to get a REAL ID card," Spiegel said.

How do I get a REAL ID?

By Oct. 1, 2020, Americans will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, marked with a star in the corner, in order to pass through airport security and board airplanes. The identification also will be needed to enter federal buildings, such as the federal building in Sioux City, that require visitors to present an ID at the entrance.

Iowans can receive a REAL ID at a driver's service center or county treasurer's office that issues driver's licenses and ID cards. When applying for a REAL ID, you will need to present documents proving the following:

1. Proof of identity and date of birth. What's acceptable: Birth certificate, passport and certain immigration documents. Women need a copy of their marriage license if their current last name is not the same as the one on their birth certificate.

2. Proof of Social Security number. What's acceptable: Social Security card. A pay stub. W-2 form or Social Security Administration Form 1099. Make sure pay stubs or other documents contain your full Social Security number. Some of those documents sometimes display only a partial number.

3. Proof of residency. What's acceptable: You must present two documents that include your current name and street address. That includes a voter registration card, utility billing statement, bank or credit card statement, insurance card, personal check or bank deposit slip.

For more information about REAL ID and requirements to get one, visit the Iowa Department of Transportation's website at:

©2019 Sioux City Journal, Iowa. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.