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Deadline for 'Real ID' One Year Away

Iowa Department of Transportation Director, Mark Lowe
Grant Gerlock
Iowa Department of Transportation Director, Mark Lowe

Iowans need to be sure they have an up-to-date driver’s license before new rules take effect at airports and federal buildings next year. Starting in October 2020, a Real ID will be required to pass through security lines.

The IDs have a yellow star in the corner and are issued by the state according to federal guidelines to prevent identity theft. Without a Real ID, the only way for passengers to go through security will be with a valid passport or military ID.

“We don’t want to tell you you can’t get on the airplane, but unfortunately that’s what we’ll have to do if you don’t have that driver’s license,” said Jamie Daly, a security supervisor at the Des Moines International Airport. “If you don’t have the star on there today, you should start making a plan now so that you can get one.”

So far, only about 36 percent of Iowans have a Real ID according to the state Department of Transportation, which started issuing them in 2013.

There is some extra paperwork involved. The DOT requires documents to verify a person’s address. Name changes must be documented, too. DOT director Mark Lowe said that’s often more of a burden for women updating their licenses.

“If you’re a woman coming in and you’ve got a passport that’s in your current legal name, use that as your proof of identity document because then we don’t need you to go get those name change documents,” Lowe said.

The federal government created Real ID regulations in 2005 as a counterterrorism measure to make state-issued identification more consistent and more difficult to counterfeit.

Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa