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Federal and state officials urged North Dakotans to obtain a Real ID-compliant license ahead of an October 2020 deadline Wednesday, which marked the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the security requirements.

The Real ID requirements stem from a 2005 law passed by Congress in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The law established "minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards," Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers told reporters at the Bismarck Municipal Airport.

The Real ID law also prevents federal agencies like the TSA from accepting identification that don't meet minimum standards, meaning travelers will need compliant documentation in order to board a commercial flight starting Oct. 1, 2020.

TSA accepts other forms of identification such as a passport, but a "vast majority" of travelers use their driver's license, Dankers said.

"This deadline will sneak up on all of us," she said.

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Only about 83,000 North Dakotans currently have Real ID-compliant licenses, representing about 13% of the 633,000 IDs issued by the state Department of Transportation, which includes driver's licenses and permits, according to Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford.

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"We're here to encourage North Dakotans to plan ahead and consider getting a Real ID," he said. "We don't anyone getting left at the gate in October 2020."

Sanford said state transportation officials have made it an "easy process" to obtain a Real ID, noting that he booked an appointment ahead of time last month that lasted only 10 minutes.

Brad Schaffer, the state DOT's diver's license division director, said the agency is planning to open its doors for Real ID registration on certain Saturdays and will alert drivers to the requirements through fliers attached to motor vehicle registration reminders.

The North Dakota DOT has posted information about obtaining a Real ID on its website, including a checklist of needed documentation.

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