Your Driver’s License Is Still Valid For Domestic Air Travel, At Least For Now

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Photo credit: iStock.com/photoncatcher

By Benjamin Lau and David S. Rugendorf

As the Department of Homeland Security continues to phase in the requirements of the REAL ID Act, some domestic airline travelers may be prohibited from using their state-issued driver’s license or ID card in order to board their flight.

After January 22, 2018, state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs may be used for domestic airline travel only if they were issued by a state which is in compliance with the REAL ID Act or has been granted an extension by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, all 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands are either in compliance with the REAL ID Act or have been granted an extension by the Secretary of Homeland Security.  The only US nationals impacted by the January 22, 2018 date are individuals who possess driver’s licenses or IDs issued by American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Residents of California and New York may continue to use their driver’s license or ID to board domestic flights as these states were granted an extension by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

For states granted an extension, driver’s licenses and IDs issued by these states may be used for domestic air travel until October 10, 2018.  At that time, the Secretary of Homeland Security has discretion to grant an additional extension to states not in compliance with the REAL ID Act.

The US Department of Homeland Security maintains an updated list of states which are currently in compliance with the REAL ID Act or have been granted an extension at: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

Click here to download this alert as a PDF.

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