September 21, 2017
Earlier in the summer, it was revealed that residents in nine states could end up needing passports for domestic air travel by January of 2018, but they are certainly working on trying to avoid that. By 2020, the Real ID Act is requiring all states to be compliant as a regular driver’s license will no longer be accepted for flights within the United States. Well, there has been a huge update on every single state regarding compliance with the Real ID Act and if you’ll need a passport to fly or not.
Now, there are a lot more states that have still not met the requirements needed to be compliant with the Real ID Act and could require passports starting next year.
A number of airports had started putting up signs in their terminals to advise travelers that starting on January 18, 2018, an alternative ID would be needed for domestic flights if your ID or driver’s license was from one of these nine states:
Real IDs are going to start being distributed to citizens beginning in 2019, and by 2020, everyone will need one to fly domestically. While that may still seem far away, the Real ID Act requires that all states be in compliance much earlier than that and these nine states have at least received somewhat of a reprieve.
According to The Points Guy, the nine states have all filed for an extension to become compliant with the Real ID Act. With that extension, it doesn’t necessarily change anything for those with a driver’s license from those states, as the extension is only until Oct. 10, 2017.
While that may sound like good news, it really only gives you a slight moment to breathe. Those nine states now join 15 others who have not yet become compliant with the requirements for Real IDs, but still need to do so.
As shown on the website for the Department of Homeland Security, those states will need to show that they have met the requirements or file for another extension. While another extension may be granted, they will definitely need to have everything in place by Jan. 22, 2018, or travelers will need a passport or other ID to travel on a domestic flight.
While it was originally just nine states that were under fire for not meeting compliance, Conde Nast Traveler has broken it down to show there are many more who are currently on an extension. Here is every state or U.S. territory does not have a Real ID compatible license as of this writing.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
You always need to check with your state government and DHS as some states will file further extensions. For instance, Kentucky IDs are good at least through Jan. 1, 2019, but they are still not compliant.
This does not mean you will need a passport for domestic air travel now or anytime in the next couple of months, as all of these states may come into compliance. That could all change, though, if they have not met the requirements by the set date in January.
That does include air travel to places such as Walt Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, New York, or anywhere in the country.
No matter what, all state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs will be accepted for domestic air travel through Jan. 22, 2018. If your state does not become compliant soon, though, you will possibly want to start the process of getting a passport.
By Jan. 22, 2018, if your state has not fallen into compliance with the specifications of the Real ID Act, you will need one of the following forms of identification as your state driver’s license won’t work.
Permanent resident card or Green Card
You will want to keep yourself updated with the map on the official website for the Department of Homeland Security. It continuously updates the map to show which states are compliant, not compliant, or have filed for an extension.
The Real ID Act is something that is going to happen and it is already well on its way to becoming a reality for the entire country. While a number of states have already taken the necessary steps to become compliant, there are those who still haven’t reached that level yet. If you’re in one of the states that haven’t yet corrected their IDs, you will want to keep an eye on that mid-October extension deadline or else you may need a passport for domestic flights by January of 2018.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]