driver's license

You Soon Won't Be Able To Fly Domestic Without REAL ID

Dec 26, 2019

It's been more than a decade since Congress passed the REAL ID Act. It is based on recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, which set standards for issuing sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards."

Florida Department of Motor Vehicles

On any weekday, it’s common to see a line of people in Miami-Dade County courts trying to get their driver’s license reinstated largely due to unpaid fines and fees.

John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP

A new study says allowing the estimated 750,000 undocumented immigrants living in Florida to obtain driver’s licenses would not only ease their lives, but also increase state revenue and public safety.

The findings of the study by nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute (FPI) could play a large part in upcoming legislation being introduced by state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, aimed at allowing driver’s licenses for all.

The bill would align Florida with 14 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, all of whom have passed similar laws.

Updated Oct. 24 at 9:39 a.m. ET

The Census Bureau is asking states to voluntarily share driver's license records as part of the Trump administration's efforts to produce detailed data about the U.S. citizenship status of every person living in the country.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, when the REAL ID law takes effect, if you plan to fly anywhere in the United States, the driver's license you show to security is probably going to need to have a star at the top. Essentially an enhanced driver's license, it will be required at the airport gate, unless you have another accepted form of ID. And officials are worried that one year out, many people don't yet have one.

@cdharrison / Creative Commons

Marq Mitchell got his license suspended when he was about 21 years old. 

He had two felony convictions — one stemming from his time as a teen in foster care and another from when he got into a fight after aging out of the system.

As a result of those cases he owed more than $4,000 dollars in court costs and fines. When he couldn’t afford to pay, the state suspended his driver’s license. 

“I would make small payments here and there and it wasn't enough to satisfy the requirements,” he said.