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Courtesy of the Michigan Department of State

Michigan residents may be grounded if they try to fly after Sept 30, 2020, unless they update to a REAL ID-compliant form of identification, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the State Department.

“If you travel by air, this message is particularly important for you,” Benson said at a Tuesday news conference at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. “With the clock ticking until REAL ID goes into effect, we’re advising all Michigan residents to be prepared.”

When the law goes into full effect Oct. 1, 2020, those with a standard Michigan driver’s license or state ID card will be denied from boarding domestic flights or entering military bases, nuclear power plants or other federal facilities.

Michigan Department of State Communication Specialist Cathleen Simlar told The Center Square the 2005 9/11 Commission drafted the REAL ID Act to prevent future air terrorism by raising standards for identification.

“That’s why it’s such a big deal for people who are domestic air travelers,” Simlar said. “We’re telling people that your standard driver’s license isn’t going to be good enough after Oct. 1, 2020, to board airplanes at domestic airports.”

Simlar said as of August, 41 percent of Michigan drivers’ licenses are REAL ID compliant. That number doesn’t include other documents such as passports, Trusted Travelers Cards and enhanced driver’s licenses.

Michigan residents can turn their standard license or state ID card into a REAL ID by visiting any Secretary of State office with the required identity documents without additional charge if within the normal renewal period. Otherwise, the state charges a $9 fee to fix licenses or a $10 fee to change a state ID.

“But there’s a good chunk of people that don’t have either and may fly in the future,” Simlar said. “It’s good to have it for peace of mind in case you ever do need to fly.”

The new ID should be mailed and received within one to two weeks.

Simlar said residents must possess an enhanced driver’s license or passport, which have RFID chips, to enter Canada or Mexico.

After Oct. 1, 2020, minors who are flying alone require REAL-ID-compliant identification. Children traveling with an adult can board an airplane only if the adult has a REAL ID.

The following are required to apply for a REAL ID:

• Your driver’s license or state ID card.

• Your certified birth certificate with a raised seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency; your valid, unexpired U.S. passport; or an approved citizenship or legal presence document. No faxes or photocopies.

• If your name differs from what is on your birth certificate, bring certified documents, such as marriage licenses, divorce decrees, or court orders for every time your name has changed.

Michigan residents can schedule an appointment online to get a REAL ID at any Secretary of State office.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.