RELAX! You do NOT need to adjust travel plans, or rush out to get a new driver’s license, passport, or other ID for domestic air travel in the United States no matter what state you live in.
Get the FACTS below with a link to the official Homeland Security press release to back up the information. The question, “Can I fly with my ID?” results in a lot of misinformation out there on this topic, including many wrong or old headlines of out-of-date deadlines.
Read more about the REAL ID law — GUIDE: Do I Need A “REAL ID” Card To Fly?
Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel. Passengers can also continue to use any of the various other forms of identification accepted by TSA (such as a Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID).
In my opinion, if you fly even a couple times a year, regardless of domestic or international, you should get a Global Entry card and you won’t have to even worry about this state-issued ID business. You will have (1) a TSA-accepted ID card and (2) access to TSA PreCheck security lines. Cost? $100 for five years. Not missing your flight? Priceless! See 7 Reasons To Get Global Entry (Instead of TSA PreCheck)!
For those of us who have been watching the “can” that is the 2005 REAL ID Act be kicked down the road time and time again, it comes as no surprise that yet another extension has been granted to the remaining five states (Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington) and the territory of American Samoa which are not compliant with the ten-year-old law and hadn’t received an extension from Homeland Security.
– Starting January 8, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline below, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards. (“We ARE serious, folks!”)
– Starting July 15, 2016, TSA, in coordination with airlines and airport stakeholders, will begin to issue web-based advisories and notifications to the traveling public. (“Really…this IS happening! Really!)
– Starting December 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods. (“See, there are signs up all over! We’re leaving them up for over a YEAR saying ‘we are serious’ this time. No joking!“)
– 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. Passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is compliant with REAL ID (or a state that has been issued an extension) will still be able to use their driver’s licenses or identification cards. (“It’s GO TIME!…or ‘STOP’ time I guess, if you have a bad ID.”)
– Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel. (“Okay, the extensions stop here. We get it that your state has no money to update its issued ID system, but you’ve had 15 years now! Too bad. Remember those signs we put up!?”)
Here is the link to the official source of the information:
Statement By Secretary Jeh C. Johnson On The Final Phase Of REAL ID Act Implementation
CHECK the status of your state’s compliance with the REAL ID law here: Homeland Security ID Enforcement
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.