Ringing in 2016 may also mean getting a passport for four U.S. states. In the past, flying from one U.S. location to another has only required a valid driver’s license as proof of residency and identification, but new rules will be going into effect soon and residents will be required to show additional identification to board a domestic flight. Not sure if you live in one of these states? Here’s the scoop.
Update: Since this article went to press, timeline extensions have been given. Starting January 22, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.
Do you hold a driver’s license from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, or New Hampshire? Beginning sometime in 2016, a valid driver’s license from these states will no longer be accepted as the only proof of identification when flying from one U.S. location to another.
It turns out that in these four states (and American Samoa as well), applying and receiving a valid driver’s license does not require proof of citizenship or residency. Why the need for additional identification? These driver’s licenses are considered noncompliant with the security standards in the Real ID Act enacted in 2005. The purposes covered by the Act are “accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.” The Real ID Act will be implemented in stages and the exact date for the official policy change hasn’t been set- yet. New York residents have been given an extension for a few more months, but as the date hasn’t been set, you may want to start the passport process now.
Approved Identification Types
Acceptable identification includes the following:
- Passports and Passport cards
- Global Entry and NEXUS DHS traveler cards
- Permanent Resident Cards
- U.S. Military IDs
- CPB Enhanced Driver’s Licenses
I have a passport and, although it’s not used as much as I would like, it’s nice to know it’s there just in case I want to travel internationally on a whim. Remember the look and feel of passports? They’ll be changing, too.