US domestic travelers may be required to use passports to fly

To attain full compliance with a 2005 federal law, residents in a handful of U.S. states may soon be obligated to produce a passport to board a domestic flight.

Under the terms of the 2005 REAL ID Act, which “sets standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses,” nine states are slated to require a passport in lieu of a driver’s license or a state-issued personal identification card.

Pennsylvania, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Maine and Montana do not currently issue driver’s licenses or state identification cards which meet minimum federal code for travel.

The nine states have been given a three-month period to comply with the new law and some are expected to be in compliance by the deadline next year.  Twenty-seven other states have already fulfilled requirements and will not require a passport to travel.

The new law is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 22, 2018.

Enacted in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the new law was designed to clampdown on fraudulent identification cards.  The law began to be fully enforced in 2013.

Although new federal law requires a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, the Transportation Safety Administration will accept more than a passport.

A U.S. passport card, DHS trusted travel card, U.S. military ID card, permanent resident card, a passport issued by a foreign government, or a HSPD-12 PIV card are among the approved by the federal government for travel purposes.

States have until 2020 to issue federally-approved identification cards for travel, or face rigid travel restrictions.


[Matador Network] [Esquire] [Photo courtesy Travel Update]