What the Real ID Act means for Travelers

What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for U.S. state and territory license production and issuance. It prohibits Federal agencies from accepting licenses that do not meet these requirements, which can affect travelers passing through TSA and trying to board commercial aircrafts.

How many states currently comply with the Real ID Act standards?

33 states and Washington D.C. are currently producing and issuing licenses that meet all of the Real ID Act requirements. Licenses from these states are certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Extensions have been given to the remaining 17 states but the current extensions expire on October 10th, 2018.

What will happen on October 10, 2018?

Travelers in states that are noncompliant and have not received an additional extension will not be able to use their license at airport TSA checkpoints. These travelers must show a different form of ID when traveling.

Which states and regions have extensions that expire on October 10, 2018?

The following states and regions have extensions that expire on October 10th however, the DHS has stated that most of these states are either on track to being compliant or will have no issue getting another extension.  Check the DHS Real ID website for more information:

  • Alaska
  • American Samoa
  • California
  • Guam
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington

What will happen on October 1, 2020?

Beginning in October 2020, all travelers in all states and territories will be required to show a compliant license, with a star in the upper right corner, in order to get through airport TSA checkpoints. This is important to note because some states still offer compliant and noncompliant licenses, the noncompliant licenses being cheaper. Those who choose to purchase noncompliant licenses will not be able to use them at TSA checkpoints.

What does all of this mean for travelers?

If you already have a compliant license, there’s no need to do anything at all. If you don’t have a compliant license, educate yourself on whether or not your state is currently issuing them. If your state issues compliant licenses, try to get one as soon as possible if you plan to travel, even if it is before your required renewal date. If your state is not yet issuing compliant licenses, familiarize yourself on your state’s implementation timeline and plan to get one as soon as they become available.

Additional questions? Give Professional Travel a call and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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