Clock ticking for flyers to obtain REAL ID through SOS

WEST MICHIGAN -- If air travelers don't have a "REAL ID" by next October, they could be grounded. The federal government is requiring all states to issue the upgrade. Michigan's Secretary of State and airports are trying to make sure no one is left stranded.

"Starting October 1st of next year, anyone who flies domestically won't be able to board their flights unless they have a REAL ID compliant document," Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Tuesday.

The new ID has a star within a gold circle in the upper right hand corner.

To apply for the REAL ID card, take your current license or ID to any Secretary of State’s office, along with your passport or a certified birth certificate with a raised seal or stamp, or a legal presence document.

If your name is different than what appears on your birth certificate then you must bring a document that certifies the name change, like a marriage license or a court order. Again, October 1, 2020 is when your old ID won't fly.

Tara Hernandez, spokeswoman for Ford International Airport explained, “There are really no expectations to that rule. The TSA is a federal checkpoint, and so you have to have an ID that fits their appropriate regulations."

"If you don’t have that ID, you will not be able to fly,” she said.

Hernandez says local TSA officers who handle ID’s help inform passengers of the coming requirement, along with signage posted in the terminal. The hope is for everyone to get onboard by next fall.

“We’re gonna be doing a social media push and some other things, especially as we get closer. As October of 2020 sneaks up on us, we’re gonna really be pushing it more and more to make sure people are ready and prepared to fly," Hernandez said.

The state says there's no extra cost to get the new ID during their regular renewal period. You can also travel with your passport instead. For more information, you can go to

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  • Julie

    Can someone explain why I have do drag my birth certificate, marriage licenses, and divorce decree in there AGAIN when I’ve had to take them in there each time I needed my name changed on my license? I’ve presented the legal docs to get the non-real ID license I have and now have to take it all back in again to get the same license with a little star on it?

  • David

    So my current drivers license is not a real id, because it doesn’t have a star on it? I can drive in all 50 states and Canada with my current drivers license.

  • Tamisha Hill

    I’m so confused. So…the State gave out fake ID’s? Now everyone needs a “real” ID, why didn’t they issue “real” ID’s in the beginning? This is funny!

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