Changes to Domestic Flight I.D. Requirements is a hot topic on my social media feed this week. You may have seen the following Homeland Security poster shared on social media recently. This is actually an older poster as many of the states listed have since been granted an extension to prepare for compliance.
If you live in the following states, pay attention:
- Missouri (I’ve seen reports that Missouri is moving toward compliance)
As of January 22, 2018, your driver’s license will no longer be accepted as a valid form of identification when passing through security for ANY flight regardless of the destination. The Transportation and Security Administration (or TSA) has issued the following fact sheets regarding the REAL ID Act that was passed by Congress in 2005 (click here).
Essentially, you will need to apply for an alternate, acceptable form of identification as soon as possible if you plan on traveling by air next year. The fact sheet linked above outlines some of the alternatives available with the most obvious choice being the U.S. passport.
While it’s the more expensive option initially ($135 for adults, $105 for children at the time of this posting), the U.S. passport is valid for 10 years for adults and children ages 16 and up and valid 5 years for children under the age of 16. For more information on how to apply or renew a U.S. passport, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website (click here).
Who is Compliant?
As of today, the following states are listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s website as being REAL I.D. Act compliant:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico,
Ohio, S. Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia
If you live in any other U.S. state or territory (aside from MO and MN), then your state has been granted an extension through October of this year (with the exception of Oregon, whose extension expires next month). I am unclear of what will happen once these extensions expire but as of right now, it appears that residents of these states are able to use their current state issued identification. Residents of other states can check the current status of your state here.
My State is Compliant so Why Should I Care?
- Beginning October 1, 2020, all states will be required to present the REAL ID compliant driver’s license to fly domestically. If you have the old I.D., you’ll need a new one. If you’re due for a new one, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the compliant version. You may have to travel to a regional office to obtain a compliant license. You will have to bring additional proof of identification when you renew in order to get one. Check your state’s DFA website to determine what you’ll need and where to go.
- If you have any inclination to apply for a passport, you need to do it yesterday. We’ve already been warned about long wait times for processing and with these changes, the waits may be getting longer. You do not want the anxiety of needing a passport now and not having it. Gather your information, take your little mugshot, and go get it done. Just go.
Ultimately, if you’re in the position to obtain a passport, I would recommend doing it. It’s one of those things that is better to have and not need than need and not have. It’s a process, but once it’s done you don’t have to worry about it again for a good long while.
And finally, this information could have changed in the time it took me to post this. Always, always, always check online for any new information before formulating an action plan when it comes to federal i.d. requirements for your state.