Updated! Information Regarding Identification for Travel

The following information has been updated as of Monday, January 11, 2016 on this website.

The links at the TSA and DHS websites have been reflected to include the most up to date and recent changes.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/frequently-asked-questions

http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs

Why is DHS implementing air travel in stages?

On January 8, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the following timetable for the implementation of the REAL ID Act for air travel:

  • Effective immediately, 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.
  • 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.  
  • Starting December 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods.
  • 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.  To check whether your state is compliant or has an extension, click here.  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.
  • Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel.

This timetable recognizes that some states must change their laws to comply with the REAL ID Act. It is also designed to provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the implications of not having a REAL ID-compliant license, and so that individuals have an ample opportunity to replace their pre-REAL ID licenses with new compliant licenses or to obtain another acceptable form of identification.

 Q: When will I need to change how I travel domestically?

Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Please see TSA’s website for a list of acceptable forms of identification. Passengers who have licenses issued by a state that is compliant or that has an extension to become compliant with REAL ID requirements may continue to use their licenses as usual. For a list of states already in compliance or with an extension visit DHS’s REAL ID webpage. DHS continually updates this list as more states come into compliance or obtain extensions.  

Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel. A REAL ID compliant license is one that meets, and is issued by a state that complies with, the REAL ID Act’s security standards.  

Travelers can check DHS’s REAL ID webpage at any time to learn if your state is compliant and can check with your state’s agency that issues driver’s licenses about how to acquire a compliant license. The earlier your state becomes compliant, the more likely you will be able to acquire a compliant license as part of the normal renewal cycle.

 Q: How will the public be notified of these changes for air travel?

On January 8, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the timetable for the final phase of implementation to the REAL ID Act to inform the traveling public of changes that will be made for identification for domestic air travel effective January 22, 2018. DHS will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards.

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.

Starting December 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods.

 


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