The Real ID Act is causing lots of questions and confusion among US travelers. Here is what you need to know.
What is the Real ID act
“The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.” ~ Department of Homeland Security
Where do you stand and what will you need to fly domestically?
For most people the Real ID act affects them when they want to fly domestically. For international travel it is required that every person, even babies, have a passport. Nothing has changed with that. All passports meet the Real ID act standards. You can always fly domestically with a passport as well, but most people usually fly with a driver’s license. If you don’t have a passport you need to be aware of a few things. Is your state issued drivers license a real id? If not does your state have an extension? The best place to get up to date information is on the Homeland Security Website. Scroll down to the map and select your state for the most up to date information. Keep in mind that for some states they will have a real ID but it will be an option. Meaning that you will have to choose to get the real ID drivers license. You will want to be sure you know what you have.
What should I do now?
If your state is compliant – Check to be sure you have a real ID. You might have one and not know it or you may have to apply for a different ID but its available to you.
If your state has an extension – Find out when the extension is good until. If you have travel plans for after the extension and don’t have a passport consider getting a passport or keeping a close eye out for future extensions. Lastly, be sure you have your documentation together so when your state offers the real ID you are ready to go.
For more information, please contact the REAL ID Program Office at [email protected].