Your Driver’s License May No Longer Be Valid For Air Travel Next Year

Residents of eight states will no longer be able to use their state-issued ID for domestic air travel. If you’re a resident of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Washington, your driver’s license will no longer be valid to pass TSA-checkpoints. You will need an alternate form of ID. You will need a passport, military ID or permanent resident card next time you go to the airport, even if you’re just traveling within the United States.
Driver’s License

The rule will go into effect until January 22, 2018. This should give you plenty of time to finally renew or obtain that passport. TSA has already begun putting up signage alerting travelers of the upcoming change in requirements.

Why exactly are these states the only ones being affected? Because these states don’t meet the federal government’s minimum security standards that require verifying every ID applicant’s identity, putting anti-counterfeit technology into the production of the card and conducting background checks on the people issuing the driver’s licenses.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 prohibits federal agencies from “accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards,” making these particular state IDs invalid for travel.

Right now only 25 states plus Washington D.C. are in compliance with the rules. The remaining states have been given extensions to meet the standards.

The residents from the 8 noncompliant states that haven’t been granted extensions may be affected by the REAL ID Act even sooner than January 2018, however. As of January 30, 2017, IDs from non-compliant states will no longer be accepted for entry into federal facilities, nuclear power plants or military bases.

The following 12 states were granted an extension through October 10, 2017. This means they have until fall 2017 to make their state ID standards compliant with the Federal agency requirements:

  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas

Five other states have been granted a “limited” extension until June 6, 2017:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

If the remaining eight states change their ID process, they too may be granted extensions. The Department of Homeland Security website states that “DHS is continuing to provide extensions, as warranted. Extensions are granted for a maximum of one year and may be renewed if a state demonstrates continued progress towards compliance.”

If you’ve had travel plans on the horizon, you should probably get a passport if you don’t already have one.  If you live in one of the 8 non-compliant states without an extension and you plan to visit a federal facility on or after January 30, 2017, you’ll need a federally-approved form of ID, such as a passport, to enter.

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