by Johanna Jainchill, Travel Weekly | February 12, 2020

In an attempt to head off travel disruption caused by the Oct. 1 Real ID deadline, a bipartisan bill introduced today would allow PreCheck membership to be a temporary alternative to having a Real ID at domestic airports.

H.R. 5827, the Trusted Traveler REAL ID Relief Act of 2020, introduced by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), would also allow state motor vehicle agencies to establish procedures for people to submit electronic documents and facial images when applying for a Real ID-compliant identification.  

The Real ID Act requires American travelers to present a state-issued Real ID driver's license or identification cards that meet increased security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005.Citing data showing that only 16% of Americans believe they have a Real ID, Lesko said in a statement: "These figures are clear indicators of the mass confusion, chaos and delays that will most certainly occur across our nation's airports if proper measures are not taken by Oct. 1. We must take action to ensure a seamless transition when Real ID requirements take effect."

The proposed measure would require the TSA to accept PreCheck enrollment as an alternative to Real ID-compliant identification for domestic air travel until April 1, 2022 to give people more time to get Real IDs. For those arriving at airports on Oct. 1 without Real IDs, the bill requires TSA to develop and implement alternative screening procedures.

It also requires the TSA to notify the public of the PreCheck exemption and to partner with stakeholders to inform the public of all pending Real ID implementation requirements. Under the proposal, airports can request that TSA coordinate with air carriers, airport operators and law enforcement agencies to conduct Real ID implementation exercises to be prepared for the Oct. 1 deadline.

Murphy stated that the Real ID laws could "significantly impact Florida: a year-round tourist destination," adding, "This common-sense bill will permit those enrolled in TSA PreCheck to continue their journey without disruption, smoothing the transition to these enhanced security standards."

Many travel organizations applauded the measure.

"Travel advisors are doing their part to educate the public on the looming Real ID deadline, but getting implementation right and preventing real harm to the travel industry will require an 'all hands on deck' approach,"

ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement, calling the bill "common-sense legislation."

The lobbying group Airlines for America called it a "positive step toward ensuring that the 2.4 million people who travel every day will be able to flow through the system as seamlessly as possible this fall," while Tori Emerson Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association's executive vice president of public affairs and policy, said the bill "advances discussions on ensuring a smooth transition into Real ID enforcement and the future of security screening. We applaud Reps. Lesko and Murphy for taking this positive step toward modernizing our travel security systems."