Travel Weekly reports that the TSA is already alerting travelers to forthcoming ID requirements set to take effect in 2018.
According to Travel Weekly, the changes are part of the The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, which “established minimum security-related requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Among other provisions, the law establishes what data that state must require before issuing a license or card and what data they must subsequently store electronically. It also lays out what technology must be encoded in the IDs and what data must be printed on the IDs.”
As of now, nine states—Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington—aren’t compliant. If those states don’t comply by January 22, 2018, travelers from those states will have to provide alternate ID when traveling. Passports, passport cards, trusted-traveler cards, and military IDs are among the accepted forms of alternate ID.
The remaining 41 states have either complied or received extensions until 2020.
If you’re wondering why your state isn’t compliant, the answer is predictably perplexing. Real ID mandates the forms of ID federal agencies can accept. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “participation by states is voluntary, although Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states for official purposes.”
Basically, states are not required to update their IDs, but federal agencies like the TSA are prohibited from accepting noncompliant identification. Makes sense!
DHS notes that it has been working with states “for years” to assist with compliance and has “provided technical assistance, grants and other support to them” along with “two years advance notice of implementation with respect to domestic air travel.” Hence the TSA’s early warning to states that are still not compliant.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Case for Making PreCheck Free
- The REAL ID Act: Is Your License About to Become Useless for Air Travel?
- U.S. Passport Changes Are Coming: Here’s What You Need to Know