Your standard Washington ID won’t get you through airport in 2020

In this story

  • DHS has granted Washington state an extension from enforcement through October
  • Starting in July 2018, the state’s standard licenses will be marked to indicate they are not REAL ID compliant and not acceptable by federal authorities
  • Federal law requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the US

Washington is among about two dozen states that have been granted a yearlong extension from the enforcement of federal requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards. You'll soon need to get an enhanced driver's license or use another approved form of identification at TSA checkpoints.

The state had initially been notified by the Department of Homeland Security that it was under a grace period through Jan. 22 as the federal government continued its review of states’ progress.

"DHS has said stated that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations," according to Washington DOL.

Christine Anthony, a spokeswoman for the Washington state Department of Licensing, said late last year that the decision “gives our customers more time to decide if they will need a new type of identification that is acceptable for federal purposes.”

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The federal law requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States. It was passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to strengthen rules for identification needed at airports and federal facilities.

Washington lawmakers passed a measure last year creating a two-tiered licensing system that was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Washington state already offers, but does not mandate, enhanced driver’s licenses and IDs that require proof of U.S. citizenship and are valid under the federal law.

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Starting in July 2018, the state’s standard licenses — which aren’t in line with the federal requirements — will be marked to indicate they are not REAL ID compliant and thus not acceptable for certain purposes by federal authorities.

However, Anthony noted that residents will have a choice of which license they want and are not required to get the enhanced licenses.

"When the REAL ID law is enforced in October 2020, no one will be required to get an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card. A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards."

Compliant:

Not compliant: