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In an effort to make traveling even more secure, there will be new identification rules for air travel in the United States starting in 2018. If you don’t have the proper identification, you may be required to bring your passport even when you aren’t going international! For non-travelers, this probably won’t pose an issue. But if you plan to board an aircraft for a domestic flight, this may affect you.
Here’s the breakdown:
There is a federal act called REAL ID that is an effort to help make identification more secure, ultimately making travel safer. Starting January 22, 2018, your ID must be compliant with REAL ID in order for you to board a domestic flight, or you will need to use your passport (or other acceptable form of identification). If your state is compliant with the REAL ID act, you can continue to use your state-issued ID until it expires or until October 1, 2020 (whichever is first). That means you do not need to rush to get an updated ID at this time. However, if your state is not compliant with REAL ID then you may not be able to use your state-issued ID come January 2018.
How is this new ID more secure?
When you get a REAL ID, there is more documentation required to prove your identity. You’ll be required to show proof of identity, proof of Social Security Number, and two forms of proof of address.
How do you know if you have the right identification?
This is an optional program. If you opt in, your driver’s license or ID card will have a gold/yellow circle with a star in it. If you opt for a standard ID, it will say “Not for Federal Identification.” Again, depending on your state, your current ID should be fine to use until expiration.
I don’t have the star on my ID. What do I do?
The Department of Home Security has an easy to follow state map on their website to see if your state is compliant. If your state is not compliant with REAL ID, your state ID will not be accepted at the airport. Make sure you always bring a second acceptable form of identification if you travel until you get the federally recognized ID. If your state has an extension, you should be able to use your current ID for the time being, but it may still be a good idea to bring a second form of identification when you travel, just in case. (And if your state is compliant, you should be fine until expiration!)
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