How will the “new” federal REAL ID Act that contains policies for your driver’s license affect you?
Does TSA consider your driver’s license valid according to the federal REAL ID Act?
I have a valid license in my state, but I recently found out that it’s not REAL ID-compliant.
That’s right, and you might be in the same boat.
What is REAL ID?
In a Los Angeles Times article by Catharine Hamm, I was surprised to learn that back in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security established new guidelines for identifications. The new standards – called “REAL ID” – are designed to “strengthen policies and procedures for getting a driver’s license” and “are based on recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission.” I’d heard rumblings about a new ID system in 2018, but I hadn’t paid attention to it until I was given a copy of Hamm’s article.
Whenever I go through security at an airport before flying to a destination to present a time management keynote or workshop, I’m required to show my ID at TSA security checkpoints. Like most people, I use my driver’s license for domestic flights. But as I discovered on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the state of Texas is one of many that are still not in compliance, which means that once the federal REAL ID Act enforcement goes into effect, my license will not be accepted at TSA checkpoints or at military bases or at federal institutions that require ID checks.
So, what exactly is supposed to happen with REAL ID…and when?
Beginning October 10, 2017, all states are supposed to be in compliance, and TSA will begin looking for your “valid form of ID.”
States that are running 12 years behind on meeting compliance by the deadline can apply for an extension. During this extension period (October 2017 – January 2018), TSA will issue warnings if your ID is not in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.
Starting January 22, 2018, TSA will require that your driver’s license meet all federal guidelines in order for it to be considered a “valid form of ID.” Some military bases, nuclear facilities and federal institutions begin enforcement in July 2017. That’s right – this month!
After that, if your state is still not in compliance, you will have to use a form of ID other than your state-issued driver’s license. Other forms of acceptable ID include: Global Entry card, passport card, and U.S. Military ID. For a complete list of acceptable ID’s, click here.
Note that a valid passport is still required for international travel.
Is your state already REAL ID compliant?
If you’re wondering whether your state is already in compliance or if your state has applied for an extension, you can view this Real ID compliance chart from DHS. Or, could your state be one of those that’s flat-out refusing to comply? Check out the above site to find out.
I plan to carry my alternate form of ID in my wallet starting now. I’ve done work on military bases and fly often, so I don’t want to worry about forgetting it on one of those occasions. I also don’t want to have to remember when the deadline extension ends and warnings become actual enforcement. Better yet, maybe my state will meet its 12-year head’s up notice and become compliant by the deadline.
For complete details about how the REAL ID policies will affect you, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID FAQ page.