In less than one year, travel identification used for domestic flights must be REAL ID compliant. You may be ready, depending on the state you live in. But it never hurts to be 100% sure.
What is REAL ID?
The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 based on the recommendation from the 9/11 Commission to prevent fraudulent issuance and use of driver's licenses and identification cards to ensure safety and security. The Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards and prohibits the TSA (and other federal agencies) from accepting licenses and ID cards that do not meet these standards. So, in a nutshell, the goal of REAL ID is to make the issuing and use of driver’s licenses and other state-issued ID cards more secure and less prone to fraud.
When will this go into effect?
January 22, 2018 is the deadline for compliance, and it's just a few months away. So on January 23, 2018, if you don't have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license and you're planning to fly from Dallas to Chicago, you'll need to show an alternative form of ID to get through security. This could be:
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
There are a few additional types of acceptable ID, and those are listed on the TSA’s website.
If you can't provide alternative acceptable ID, you won’t be allowed to pass through the security checkpoint. And, if you can't get through security, you can't travel.
There's another deadline a couple of years out--October 1, 2020. That’s when every domestic air traveler must show a REAL ID compliant license or another form of ID in order to fly.
What states have compliant IDs?
Most states are already issuing REAL ID-compliant IDs. To check what your state is up to, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a color-coded map to make it easy. Green means the state is compliant, yellow means they got an extension to become compliant and red means they’re not compliant. Click on your state to find more details and deadlines.
What can I do if my state isn't compliant?
If you aren't sure if your ID is compliant, there are a few ways to tell. DHS recommends that states adopt a general design marking to show compliance. Kentucky, for example, adds a white star in a gold circle in the upper right corner of compliant IDs. Wisconsin got creative, with some compliant IDs having a gold star and some with a black one.
Or, you can travel with your passport. If you don't want to carry your bulky passport book, getting a smaller passport card will fit easily in your wallet. Applying for Global Entry will get you a "trusted traveler" card, which is REAL ID compliant. Plus, not only will you speed through customs and immigration on your next international trip, but you'll also get TSA Pre-Check, as a bonus.
If you're thinking about getting a passport card, as a compliant ID, Huckleberry Travel has resources that can help. Through CIBT Visa, one of our preferred vendors, you can get our preferred pricing on expedited processing of your passport application--and they take care of all the details, with no hassle! Let us know if we can help!