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TSA reminds travelers of REAL ID requirement at airports

The new rule goes into effect next year but, to beat the crowds, officials ask you to act soon.

AUSTIN, Texas — In a little over a year, expect a major change to security at all U.S. airports.

If your driver's license does not have a gold star in the upper right-hand corner, you cannot use it to get through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) starting Oct. 1, 2020.

If your license has the gold star, then it is a "REAL ID." What that means is it is compliant with the REAL ID Act passed in 2005. 

According to TSA, the new requirement was meant to be as an added layer of security to avoid fraudulent identification after 9/11.

Texas DPS said about 4 million people have an ID that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act.

“This is our opportunity to stress the importance of getting the licenses updated,” said Mike Scott, TSA federal security director at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

If you do not have a gold star and your expiration date is before Oct. 1, 2020, you are OK.

“You will get a compliant card with your next renewal,” said Skylor Hearn, Texas DPS deputy director.

If your license expires after Oct. 1, 2020, but before Oct. 1, 2022, you can renew your license early or order a duplicate.

If your license expires after Oct. 1, 2022, you can order a duplicate license from DPS in person or online.

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You will likely get a letter in the mail reminding you as well.

“A lot of people got their original letter and said my license doesn't expire for two years, why is DPS sending me a letter?” said Hearn. “The letter specifically addresses getting a new REAL ID-compliant card.”

You may be able to renew or duplicate your license online. But because you may be required by DPS to renew or duplicate your card in person, you might want to start the process early.

“The legislature was gracious enough to give us extra resources this year,” said Hearn. “We will be hiring over 700 additional people to work in our 229 locations around the state."

Other forms of ID accepted through TSA if you do not have a compliant license with the gold star are valid passports and military licenses.

DPS said there are old ID cards that have no expiration term. Because of new regulations, those folks will have to come into a DPS office and get a new ID card.

Also according to DPS, police officers on the street and TSA have special training and equipment to identify a fraudulent card.

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