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Nine States Will No Longer Be Able to Use Driver Licenses for Domestic Flights in 2018

Airport Travel with Luggage and Airplane

Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, travelers from nine states will no longer be able to travel with only their driver’s licenses. Residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington will have to use alternate forms of ID in order to pass TSA security checkpoints – even for domestic travel. Alternate forms of ID that will be accepted are a passport, military ID or permanent resident card.

On Dec. 22, 2016, the TSA began placing signage around airport security checkpoints to inform travelers of the new rules going into effect in 2018. The IDs from these nine states do not meet the federal government’s minimum security standards. According to the Real ID Act of 2005, federal agencies such as the TSA are prohibited from “accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”

In order for states to pass the government’s security standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses. If the nine states currently on the list change their ID process, the government “may grant extensions or determine compliance for additional states as warranted,” the TSA said in a statement. “TSA will update signage if and when states that are currently listed receive extensions.”

Travelers who are not from the listed nine states will not be affected by the change in 2018. But by 2020, all travelers must have identification in compliance with the Real ID Act or they will not be allowed through TSA security checkpoints.

Only 24 states (plus Washington, D.C.) currently comply with the rules set forward in the act. The remaining states have been given extensions through 2017 to meet Real ID standards. However, the process to change statewide ID standards is lengthy. Legislation in many of the states, including Kentucky and Missouri, has been issued to the state house floor in order to comply with federal government standards. But these bills may have trouble getting passed due to growing concerns over privacy.

Travelers from these nine states can either apply for a passport or wait and see if their state’s laws change in time to comply with the TSA.

If you are interested in visiting, living or working in the United States, please contact our office to schedule a consultation to explore your options with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today!