According to new guidelines set forth by the Travel Security Association (TSA), residents of several U.S. states may soon need a passport to board any flight, domestic or international.
This new legislation is a result of the REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 and enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.
Since the legislation was initiated, over half of states and the District of Columbia have begun issuing driver’s licenses compliant with the REAL ID Act. Passengers from these states will still be permitted to use their current driver’s license or identification card without any issue.
Some states are currently deemed “Under Review,” meaning they will have a grace period until January 22, 2018 to use their current identification. After that date, travelers will need to possess an alternative form of acceptable identification for air travel to board their flight, unless the state grants a later extension within that period of time.
Several states, such as Pennsylvania, have already been granted a later extension. Residents of these states can continue to use their current state-issued ID through October 10, 2018. Extensions are renewable for up to a year, at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for all air travel.
To view the current status of your state’s identification guidelines, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website at www.dhs.gov/real-id, where you can select your state from a virtual map or drop-down menu. The Department of Homeland Security is also accepting additional questions via email at REALID@hq.dhs.gov.
Source: Department of Homeland Security