Your driver’s license; the one thing you assume will always allow you to verify who you are. That may be to a bouncer at a bar, a ticket teller at a train station, or to a police officer. But folks in a handful of states may not be able to use their valid state driver’s licenses to get on a flight—even a domestic one.
According to CNN Money, it all started with the Real ID Act, which was passed by the U.S. government ten years ago. The act instructed states to adopt stricter standards for state-issued IDs so that it would be harder for potential terrorists and criminals to obtain IDs. This called for tougher standards for which documents were needed to get an ID.
But fast-forward a decade, and less than half of the states have adopted these standards. In fact only 22 state follow the Real ID protocols, and here’s the kicker– state that have not complied cannot use those IDs to board a domestic flight.
Neither the Department of Homeland Security, nor TSA have been enforcing the standard, but reportedly will start enforcing it in 2016. If you are from one of these non-compliant states, you will be forced to show a passport, military ID, or some other form of identification. So far, 19 states have been granted extensions through October 10, 2016. That leaves five states that are non-compliant, have not been granted extensions, or have extension requests that are still being reviewed, or none at all.
These states are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington state, and their deadline is January 10. Even as of last week, DHS announced that New Mexico will be given an extension if it makes efforts to become compliant by the end of this new year. States are supposed to be given a 120 day notice before it can start to decline IDs. With all of this looming, we can certainly expect DHS and TSA to make some announcements regarding further extensions for these states, thought nothing is certain.
Technically, you do not need a photo ID to take a domestic flight. It is just a real pain, as you have to go through additional screening. With that in mind, if you are in one of the non-compliant states, maybe just make sure your passport is up to date, keeping you safe from whatever bureaucratic madness ensues in the months ahead.
See where your state is in terms of ID compliance by clicking on the Department of Homeland Security’s page here.
Image Source: National Defense