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REAL ID, license renewal, Washington
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REAL ID rule takes effect in one year, affecting Washington airports

Example of a Washington state enhanced driver’s license. (State of Washington)

In just one year, a standard Washington driver’s license won’t get passengers on domestic flights or into federal facilities.

Starting in October 2020, the Transportation Security Administration will require enhanced Washington licenses to board flights. That’s because standard IDs don’t meet security standards under the 2005 REAL ID act. The legislation “established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

New standard WA driver’s licenses still won’t get you through airport security

“Millions of passengers across the US could be prevented access through airport security checkpoints if they do not have REAL ID compliant licenses,” said Lance Lyttle, Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director.

Other forms of identification will also work at airport security, including passports and military IDs.

The enhanced license and IDs cost $78 for six years, while standard cards cost $54 for six years. The Washington Department of Licensing has provided more information on acceptable documentation required to obtain an enhanced ID here.

A recent U.S. Travel Association survey found nearly 40 percent of Americans don’t have a REAL ID or any other form of identification that will be accepted at airport security checkpoints.

Washington DOL recommends people act now to obtain one before the busy travel season next summer.

“We have about eleven minute average statewide wait times for our driver licensing offices, but we do anticipate that’s going to increase over the summer and the fall,” said Teresa Berntsen, Director of Washington Department of Licensing. “So, please  think about acting now even if you’re renewing your standard driver license or ID card.

Of course, this is not the first time such warnings have been issued. Find more information about Washington’s enhanced IDs at

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