Arizona transportation officials step up Travel ID education campaign

New AZ Travel ID required for air travel as of Oct. 1, 2020

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Nearly two-thirds of Arizona drivers have already complied with new federally mandated ID rules  — but the Arizona Department of Transportation has launched an awareness campaign ahead of next year’s compliance deadline.

According to a release from ADOT earlier this week, the department will expand its campaign to include posting employees at Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor Airport to hand out informational flyers in person.

“Getting this vital information into the hands of flyers is crucial as the October 2020 deadline approaches and that’s why MVD is making this added commitment to raising awareness,” stated Jennifer Bowser-Richards, MVD stakeholder relations manager, in an ADOT press release dated Nov. 19.

“The AZ Travel ID is easy to get, costs less than obtaining a passport and is the most convenient solution for getting through airport security and not taking the risk of missing your flight when the new ID rules go into place,” she added.

Prompted by passage of the REAL ID Act of 2005, implementation of the AZ Travel ID tightens identification requirements to get an Arizona-issued license or ID card.

The new ID has a gold star embedded in its upper-right-hand corner, which signifies the stricter federal rules were followed.

Without the new ID and its gold star, people will be barred from boarding commercially operated airline flights, entering federal buildings or accessing military bases or nuclear power plants.

Other forms of federally approved ID, such as an unexpired U.S. passport, will still be work for domestic and international air travel, however.

To get the new ID, Arizona residents must complete a three-step process:

  1. Complete the Travel ID application online at azdot.gov.
  2. Schedule an appointment at a state-run or third-party MVD office.
  3. Bring the required identification documents to the appointment.

Applicants must provide original or certified copies of required documents from three categories, including birth proof, social security proof and proof of residence.

To prove birth, applicants must provide a birth certificate, an unexpired passport, or other federal documents.

To prove social security number, the applicant must provide their valid SSA card, W-2 form or 1099 form.

And to prove residence, applicants must bring two documents displaying name and address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.

According to a Nov. 6 press release, ADOT officials said compliance had risen from just 20% percent of ID-holders in January up to 65% in November  — a jump of 45 points in less than a year.

“An increase of 45 percent in less than a year is a testament to customer service professionals doing an excellent job. But our message is still, ‘Will your license fly?’” stated MVD Director Eric Jorgensen.

He reminded residents that even those who don’t plan on air travel are sometimes required to fly unexpectedly due to family emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances.

“We know some people rarely, if ever, plan to travel by air, but it’s still important to think about getting the AZ Travel ID anyway. Unexpected events requiring air travel can occur and having the AZ Travel ID is the most efficient and cost-effective solution,” Mr. Jorgensen stated.

Every state complies with the federal ID rules now, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

“DHS is working closely with all states and territories to provide assistance and guidance to achieve full compliance by the October 1, 2020 deadline. As of September 5, 2019, 50 states and territories are fully compliant with the REAL ID requirements, and all states are on track to begin issuing compliant licenses and IDs by the October 1, 2020 deadline,” the agency stated in an FAQ about the REAL ID Act.

After Oct. 1, 2020, travelers without a REAL-ID compliant license will be turned away at federal security checkpoints, such as those operated at airports by the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA, however, doesn’t require an ID from those under 18 years of age, as long as the underage traveler is accompanied by a companion bearing the required identification, according to the DHS website.

Domestic air travelers can use either the AZ Travel ID or a valid passport. But those attempting to cross the U.S. border into Canada or Mexico or those embarking on international sea cruises, a valid passport will still be required, according to officials.

“If you are traveling internationally you will still need your passport.  If you are traveling domestically, you will only need one valid form of identification  — either your REAL ID or another acceptable alternative such as a passport, not both,” the department stated.

Despite conspiracy theories and rumors suggesting the REAL ID creates a single identification database, DHS officials insists the rules do no such thing, but only create an enforceable standard to guide local jurisdictions.

“REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure,” agency officials stated.

Learn more at aztravelid.com.

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