CHICAGO (CBS/CBS News) -- The Transportation Security Administration has launched a push for people to get their new REAL ID driver's licenses or state IDs as the deadline to get them draws near.
Effective on Oct. 1, 2020 – about 13 months from now – travelers will not be allowed to board a flight without a REAL ID, or some kind of alternative identification such as a passport.
"We want the public to make sure they're aware. It's just another layer of security," Tomas Cuellar, TSA transportation safety manager, told CBS News.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act into law in 2005 following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, setting national security standards for state drivers licenses and IDs. Enforcement of those requirements, however, has repeatedly been delayed.
REAL IDs require state applicants to submit paperwork to prove who they are and their established residence in the U.S. TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CBS News the move to REAL ID will "dramatically improve commercial aviation security."
REAL IDs cannot be received through the mail. In Illinois, they can only be applied for at Secretary of State's office Driver Service Facilities, not the express locations.
Thus, the TSA is starting the new awareness campaign push early to avoid a bigger rush at local DMVs.
"If you don't get it done as early as possible, everybody's going to be rushing at the last minute and we don't want somebody to get in a situation where they come to the airport ready to fly on vacation and then suddenly they can't get through," Cuellar said.
Without a REAL ID, travelers won't be able to board a flight, unless they have an alternative enhanced identification such as a passport. Those with REAL IDs are also able to access federal facilities and nuclear power plants.
The Real ID is sent through the mail within 15 days.
"Homeland Security established some guidelines for all 50 states to abide by," Secretary of State Jesse White said in May.
Here's the checklist to get a Real ID: https://realid.ilsos.gov/checklist.html.
The Secretary of State's website has more information on the Real ID.
CBS News Digital Politics Reporter and Video Editor Emily Tillett contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CBS News contributed to this report.)
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