If you’re planning to fly after Oct. 10, 2018, you may not be able to use your driver’s license as a form of identification to get through security. That’s the date the TSA will stop accepting identification from states which have not complied with the federal REAL ID Act.
It’s a long list that includes New York and Pennsylvania in the Northeast, Missouri and Oklahoma in the Midwest, and California and Idaho in the West.
Compliant states include Florida, Ohio, Texas, Arizona and Wyoming.
Travelers from non-compliant states will need an alternative form of identification to fly, such as a US Passport or DHS Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, Global Entry, SENTRI, or FAST).
Or, get a new, TSA compliant updated license if you live in one of the states that already offers them.
If you do not have one of these acceptable forms of identification, get one now, so you can continue to be one of the more than 700 million US passengers who travel by air each year.
You can use your existing non-compliant driver license until Oct. 10, unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues another extension for states still not complying. Don’t hold your breath.
- Travel Tip – Get travel insurance so you are covered if you are denied boarding for lack of proper identification.
Apply or renew now, since winter is a slow season for applications and renewals. Processing time gets longer toward spring, when most of us begin thinking about summer vacation trips overseas.
Ditto one of the Trusted Traveler cards, which also gets you into the TSA Pre-Check fast lane.
I have Global Entry, and love it.
Rule changing on Jan. 22, 2018
Important also is that starting January 22, 2018, the TSA will no longer try to verify your identity if you accidentally forget to bring identification.
In the past, the TSA would attempt to verify your identity through interview questions and other means, and would perform additional screening procedures. That’s over.
Simply, under the rules of the REAL ID Act, if you have no identification, or improper identification, you don’t fly. Period.
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, sets standards for which forms of identification are accepted by the federal government, including the TSA,to board any commercial flight and enter federal facilities including office buildings and military bases.
In other words, if you have to visit an IRS office to defend yourself in an audit, you won’t be able to get into the building without identification that passes the REAL ID requirements.
It’s a counter-terrorism measure that followed 9/11, that calls for states to issue driver’s licenses with such beefed up security features as scannable bar codes and digital photos, even holograms.
Department of Homeland Security website to see if your state has complied with the REAL ID Act.
It includes a handy interactive map so you can check state-by-state.
- Travel Tip: Check both your home state and the state you are traveling to, so you won’t be denied boarding on the way home.
Non-compliance is caused at least in part by the controversy over the legislation. Opponents include some legislators and the American Civil Liberties Union, which considers the REAL ID Act a threat to Americans’ civil rights that could lead to the surveillance and monitoring of where citizens travel.
The bottom line:
- Don’t find yourself barred from flying because you didn’t know your old-school license is no longer an acceptable form of identification.
- Airlines and TSA agents don’t want a slew of angry and confused travelers when enforcement begins.
- Get an acceptable form of identification now, while you still have time to do so.
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
- A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.
- A temporary driver’s license is not an acceptable form of identification.