With travel restrictions and budgets opening up, more and more people are taking to the skies again to attend trainings and conferences. But, did you know that even after you’ve gotten the needed approvals to travel you may soon be grounded due to new identification requirements for domestic flights?
REAL ID was passed by Congress in 2005. It sets standards for the “issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” This means that federal agencies can refuse to accept forms of identification that do not meet the standards. For travelers this means that the TSA can refuse drivers licenses that do not meet the REAL ID standards and in turn keep people from boarding a flight.
TSA will not begin enforcing use of REAL ID compliant identification until January 2018 so for now all drivers licenses still allow you to board an airplane.
Today, 23 states are compliant with the REAL ID Act (to find out the status of your state, click here). 27 non-complaint states have been granted extensions to meet the law requirements which means people holding an ID from one of those states may continue to use their driver’s license even after the enforcement of the act begins in 2018. Another six states are non compliant and do not have an extension as of now. Residents of those states will need to use an alternate form of identification when the act goes into effect for air travel in 2018.
Passports, passport cards, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, and federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID are all REAL ID compliant identifications and can be used in the place of a drivers license.
But even presenting one of these IDs may be difficult for some. As this article points out, The State Department is now required to deny a passport or turn down the renewal of a passport to a seriously delinquent taxpayer (defined as “an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax liability” greater than $50,000, including interest and penalties).
So with all of this in mind, here are the dates to be aware of for changes to ID requirements at airports:
January 22, 2018 — Airline passengers will need to show a REAL ID compliant form of identification to board a plane. Currently, 23 states issue drivers licenses that are REAL ID compliant, making them valid forms of ID. Citizens who live in a state that was granted an extension can continue to use a non-REAL ID driver’s license. Citizens of states that do not have compliant IDs and have not been granted an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable, REAL ID compliant identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.
October 1, 2020 — Every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant form of identification whether that is a state-issued drivers license or another, accepted ID form, for domestic air travel.
The REAL ID Act extends beyond air travel and also applies to IDs being accepted to enter many federal facilities – many of these facilities may host events and trainings.
As you are planning out your training needs for the coming years (using GovEvents.com, of course), keep the status of your identification in mind and plan accordingly.