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REAL ID or Enhanced License Needed to Fly Domestically Starting in 2020

"We want people to be ready when they come into the clerk's office."

May 20, 2019 - 12:28 pm
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BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns is collaborating with TSA and the NFTA to make sure that residents know about new requirements for boarding domestic flights.

Beginning October 1, 2020, people will need to show a REAL ID, passport or enhanced license to make the process of boarding a domestic flight easier. On Monday morning, Kearns held a press conference at Buffalo Niagara International Airport to announce a campaign of getting out into the community to inform residents of the switch.

"Five hundred days from today, on October 1, 2020, you will have to have a REAL ID or an enhanced driver's license to be compliant to get on an airline to fly domestically, to go to Canada to get into a federal building, and all of the county clerks throughout the state are bracing for this push at the end for granting REAL ID and enhanced driver's licenses," said Kearns. "My office has started an commenced the CLERK ON THE GO [campaign>, and our goal is to have 250 outreaches throughout the community."

According to TSA, REAL ID is a federally backed, coordinated effort to improve reliability of driver's licenses and identification cards, and the improvement measures are designed to inhibit a potential terrorist's ability to successfully use fraudulent identification.

To ease the process, as many people will have to make the switch from their standard ID's, Kearns will be engaging the community often in the next 500 days to make sure residents are aware of what they need to bring to the DMV to obtain a REAL ID, as well as the best process of getting one.

"We want people to be ready when they come into the clerk's office; we want to prepare them," he said. "We want them to make a reservation prior to them coming in. We know that license renewals are up, and if you add in the additional requirement of the federal government, the REAL ID, there will be no exceptions come October 1, 2020."

For clarification, NFTA Aviation Director Bill Vanacek urged people to obtain a REAL ID or an enhanced driver's license before the deadline, but he also noted that you shouldn't necessarily panic if you forget.

"I just want to let everybody know that if you do show up on October 1, 2020, and you don't have a REAL ID, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't board a flight, but the process to be screened is going to be significantly longer," said Vanacek. 

As far as cost is concerned, listen to Kearns explain how the charges work:

To learn more about REAL ID, attend an upcoming CLERK ON THE GO Outreach, or make a reservation at the Erie County Auto Bureau, visit www.erie.gov/clerk or email at ErieCountyClerkOffice@erie.gov.

Listen to the full press conference below:

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