Mainstream media and news outlets are making it sound like no big deal: if you live in New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, American Samoa, or New Hampshire you will no longer be able to get on a plane for domestic travel within the United States.
We recently reported on this looming “smart ID” being potential (you can read about that here, here, and here), but now mainstream outlets such as Travel and Leisure Magazine are reporting it – and it begins very soon. Does this make you nervous?
Travel and Leisure explains: Starting in 2016, travelers from five U.S. states will not be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID to board domestic flights—a pretty major development considering an estimated 38 percent of Americans don’t have passports.
The standard licenses from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and American Samoa are considered “noncompliant” with the security standards outlined in the Real ID Act, which was enacted back in 2005 but is being implemented in stages. Why are these specific licenses deemed sub-par? Security officials aren’t telling. The spokesperson at the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment, as did the spokesperson at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The new rules will go into effect sometime in 2016 (the exact date has not been announced), and there will be a three-month forgiveness period, during which people with these licenses will be warned that their IDs are no longer valid for flights.
Here’s the breakdown: if you’re from one of these states, “acceptable” IDs include passports and passport cards, as well as permanent resident cards, U.S. military ID, and DHS trusted traveler cards such a Global Entry and NEXUS.
The TSA will also accept Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, the kind that are currently used to replace passports for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Of the noncompliant states, only New York and Minnesota issue enhanced licenses.
For families from these states, at least children under 18 years old do not need ID when traveling with a companion.
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