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By  James Shillinglaw, Nov 11, 2019

For months the U.S. Travel Association has been warning of the danger to travel that will occur next October when the U.S. begins requiring all airline passengers to have REAL IDs (either more sophisticated driver’s licenses or passports). Many Americans still don’t have such IDs so air travel could virtually grind to a halt if they can’t get on board an aircraft.

But late last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offered to make the process of obtaining REAL IDs easier by offering a new online process to obtain such IDs. issued the following statement on the announcement that the Department of Homeland Security is seeking to offer an online process to obtain REAL IDs.

U.S. Travel said this DHS initiative that could allow states to move more of the REAL ID application process online and it’s a move that it has been advocating for months Indeed, it could greatly mitigate the challenges travelers would otherwise face next year. This is one of several policy recommendations U.S. Travel said are critical as the REAL ID implementation deadline of Oct. 1, 2020 approaches.

“We appreciate the good work of the Department of Homeland Security for taking this important step to prepare the country for the 2020 REAL ID deadline,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy. “This DHS initiative that could allow states to move more of the REAL ID application process online is one that we have been advocating for and believe could greatly mitigate challenges we will otherwise face next year. This is one of several policy recommendations we believe are critical as we approach the REAL ID implementation deadline of Oct. 1, 2020, and we look forward to working with Congress and the administration to move this forward.”

Barnes pointed out that it is a much different security and technology landscape now than when Congress passed the Act in 2005, and as a result there are real opportunities to make the REAL ID application process much more efficient, while truly enhancing security. “Our research shows that 99 million Americans do not have a REAL ID license or passport, which could mean significant headaches at DMVs—including long lines and wait times throughout the next year,” she said. “Without bold steps to educate the public about REAL ID requirements and modernize the application process, tens of thousands could be turned away from boarding a flight next Oct. 1.” For more information, visit www.ustravel.org or www.dhs.gov.