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This shows an example of the new Real ID driver’s license that, beginning Oct. 1, 2020, will be required for Iowans who want to fly or enter a federal building. The Real ID is marked with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner. To obtain one, you need to go to an Iowa driver’s license station with documentation showing your identity, Social Security number and residency.

DES MOINES — Iowans planning to fly may need to get a new driver’s license.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, anyone who wants to fly on commercial airplanes or enter a federal building, such as a courthouse or military base, will need a Real ID.

The Real ID Act, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, requires licenses to be marked with a special insignia to indicate the holder has gone through additional steps to verify their identity.

Although the Iowa Department of Transportation has been issuing Real ID cards since 2013, only 36% of Iowans hold Real ID-marked driver’s licenses, according to Andrea Henry of the IDOT.

Real ID driver’s licenses have a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.

Real IDs will not be necessary to drive a car, but not having the gold star has the potential to cause security hassles and delays for travelers or those doing business in federal buildings, Henry said.

Not everyone will need a Real ID, Henry added.

Anyone who doesn’t plan to fly, visit federal facilities or nuclear power plants will not need the new license.

Also, a military ID or passport global entry card will provide the same access as Real ID.

The Real ID doesn’t affect a person’s ability to use their driver’s license to make age-regulated purchases, such as alcohol and cigarettes, or to gamble at Iowa casinos, Henry said.

The IDOT is encouraging Iowans to get their Real ID driver’s licenses sooner rather than later.

To spread the word, IDOT and the Transportation Security Administration will host an information session a 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Des Moines International Airport.

To obtain the Real ID insignia, IDOT must see documents that prove:

  • Identity, such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved form I-94.
  • Social Security number, such as an Social Security card, W-2, or pay stub with full number.
  • Residency, such as a rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill or employment, medical or school document.

An original or certified copy of a name change document, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, may be required.

No appointment is necessary to apply for a Real ID designation on a driver’s license. Applications for the Real ID designation are handled on a first-come, first-served basis at Iowa DOT service centers.

Most people make the change when renewing their driver’s license, Henry said. There’s no extra cost to get the Real ID designation when renewing a license. If a driver’s license is not up for renewal, a replacement card will cost $10.

Opposition to the Real ID Act that was passed in 2005 came from both sides of the political spectrum and delayed its implementation.

The Tea Party was concerned it would give the federal government access to all types of information, including medical and criminal histories. The ACLU had similar concerns, warning that Real ID could lead to national databases used to track individuals.

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