I’ve been asked several times recently whether the new, compliant driver’s license is required in order to board a plane. Therefore, I thought it would be a good topic to clarify.
Here’s what you need to know…
What is the Real I.D. Act?
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act 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. States have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the Act.
What is the purpose?
To establish minimum security standards when accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.
When will I need to change how I travel domestically?
Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Please see TSA’s website for a list of acceptable forms of identification. Passengers who have licenses issued by a state that is compliant or that has an extension to become compliant with REAL ID requirements may continue to use their licenses as usual. For a list of states already in compliance or with an extension visit DHS’s REAL ID webpage. DHS continually updates this list as more states come into compliance or obtain extensions.
Are minors required to have a driver’s license or ID Card to fly domestically?
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.
What happens to travelers who show up without a compliant driver’s license? will TSA turn them away?
DHS has been working with states for years around REAL ID compliance and have provided technical assistance, grants, and other support to them. They are also providing more than two years advance notice of implementation with respect to domestic air travel to allow ample time for all states to achieve compliance, or for potential air travelers to acquire an alternate form of ID if their state does not comply with REAL ID.
What type of state issues driver’s licenses and ID cars does the Department of Homeland Security currently accept as identification to access its buildings, facilities, and at TSA checkpoints?
Until full enforcement of REAL ID begins on October 1, 2020, DHS and it’s component agencies, including TSA at its airport security checkpoints, will continue to accept for identification purposes all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by both compliant states as well as noncompliant states with a valid extension.
When will every state and territory resident need to present a Real compliant license?
Starting October 1, 2020, every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft. This is what we call “card-based” enforcement. The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents other than documents from non-compliant states (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).
All but 6 states are compliant with only Oregon, Oklahoma, Kentucky, New Jersey, Maine and America Samoa granted extensions.