Millions of Americans could be turned away from their flights when the Real ID laws are enforced in October 2020, according to the U.S. Travel Association. 

A U.S. Travel study found that 57% of Americans do not know about the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline for the Real ID directive, that 72% of Americans do not have a Real ID-compliant driver's license or are unsure if they do, and that 39% lack an alternative ID that would allow them to board a flight. 

U.S. Travel launched a consumer campaign to alert travelers about the Real ID deadline. It includes a toolkit with resources to help educate Americans about what a Real ID is. U.S. Travel said it will also engage with policymakers and government agencies to address the awareness deficit before the deadline.

"Our survey gave us the answer we didn't want to hear: that there is alarming lack of awareness and preparedness a short year out from Real ID going into full effect," said U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow. "This is significant not only because it will inconvenience travelers and create confusion at U.S. airports -- it could do significant damage to our nation's economy. … We need all hands on deck to avert a big problem next October."

The Real ID Act requires American travelers to present a state-issued Real ID driver's license and identification cards that meet increased security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005. The law establishes what data states must have before issuing a license. It also lays out what technology must be encoded in the IDs and what data must be printed on the IDs. Travelers who do not have Real ID-compliant driver's licenses or a state-issued enhanced driver's license can use other acceptable forms of identification such as a passport or U.S. military identification to fly within the United States. 

In August, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began verbally advising travelers who use identification that is not Real ID-compliant that they will not be able to use it to fly beginning Oct. 1, 2020. 

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