REAL ID Act : Driver Licenses From 24 U.S. States No Longer Valid IDs For Domestic Flights

by Kim Boateng Posted on January 10th, 2018

Washington D.C., USA : Effective Monday, January 22, 2018, travelers from twenty four U.S. states will no longer be able to travel with only their driver’s licenses, even for domestic flights. They will have to use alternate ID forms (passport, military ID, or permanent resident card) to pass Transportation Security Administration, (TSA), security checkpoints.

The IDs from the twenty four states and jurisdictions affected – California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Montana, Louisiana and Puerto Rico – do not meet the REAL ID Act federal government’s minimum security standards.

New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Montana, Louisiana and Puerto Rico are reportedly under review, but on January 22, travelers from states under review (except Puerto Rico) will need alternate ID forms as well – to pass Transportation Security Administration, (TSA), security checkpoints.

Puerto Rico interim governor, Luis Gerardo Rivera Marin, announced today, by press release, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granted the Government of Puerto Rico an extension for compliance with the “Real ID Act”, until 10 October 2018.

In 2005, the REAL ID Act was passed by Congress, to make fake IDs harder to get. The Act came about from the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations regarding homeland security.

The REAL ID Act, establishes the minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like Transportation Security Administration, (TSA), from accepting licenses and identification cards for certain official purposes, including boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, from states that do not meet these minimum standards and have not received an extension for compliance from DHS.

The REAL ID Act stipulates what the affected states need to do in order to meet the Act’s minimum standards when it comes to the issuance and production of ID cards; principally, driver licenses.

The jurisdictions covered by the REAL ID Act include: Accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

In order for states to pass the government’s security standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses.

“DHS continues to work with states to encourage compliance and may grant extensions or determine compliance for additional states as warranted. TSA will update signage if and when states that are currently listed receive extensions.” the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, said in a statement.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began posting signs at airports in December 2016 after it notified travelers in a press statement of the impending January 22, 2018 deadline.

Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification. If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.

Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel:

Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
U.S. passport
U.S. passport card
DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
Permanent resident card
Border crossing card
DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
HSPD-12 PIV card
Foreign government-issued passport
Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
Transportation worker identification credential
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

ID requirements at the checkpoint will change beginning Jan. 22, 2018.

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

Starting October 1, 2020, every traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel.

“DHS is committed to enforcing the REAL ID Act in accordance with the phased enforcement schedule and regulatory timeframes and is not inclined to grant additional extensions to any states that are not both committed to achieving full compliance and making substantial and documented progress in satisfying any unmet requirements. It has been 12 years since the REAL ID Act was passed and half of all the states have already met the REAL ID minimum standards. It is time that the remaining jurisdictions turn their commitments to secure identification into action.” the DHS posits.

REAL ID Act does NOT apply to the following – Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification, voting or registering to vote, applying for or receiving Federal benefits, being licensed by a state to drive, accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings) and participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations.

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