States have 1 year to get ‘real’ with ID security
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
In the last month, travelers may have noticed a new sign at airports across the country regarding new ID requirements going into effect next year. Beginning Jan. 22, 2018, TSA will begin strict enforcement of Real ID requirements when it comes to domestic air travel.
The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, requires states to update their security measures when it comes to driver's licenses and other forms of identification to prevent forgeries and acts of terrorism.
"Given today's threat environment, this requirement is as relevant now as it was when the 9/11 Commission recommended it," Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson said in a statement released last January regarding the finalize deadlines for Real ID implementation.
Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia meet the requirements of the Real ID Act. Six states have been granted a limited extension until June 6, and 17 states and territories have until Oct. 10 to become compliant with the new requirements.
That leaves seven states — Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania and Washington — that are not compliant with the Real ID Act. Travelers from those states may need to use another form of ID if no change is made by the January 2018 deadline.
Some states who are not in compliance will soon see some of the fallout when it comes to visiting federal facilities or nuclear power plants.
Beginning Jan. 30, 2017, the seven noncompliant states will not be able to use their ID as a form of proper identification to visit places such as Fort Knox and Fort Bragg. The Real ID Act requirements have already been implemented to tour the White House, Pentagon and even members of Congress offices.
These noncompliant states are beginning to feel the pressure of the looming deadline.
"We are actively working to secure a short extension like the one granted in recent days to Oklahoma, while we determine what additional actions may be required by Kentucky," said Amanda Stamper, spokeswoman for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to the Lexington Herald-Leader. "We are confident that we will achieve resolution to this matter during the current legislative session."
The statement comes after Bevin vetoed legislation in April that would have made the state's licenses compliant stating: "It has become increasingly clear that there is tremendous opposition and misunderstanding about the bill."
However, a similar bill — House Bill 77 — has been introduced to the Kentucky legislature in hopes that the bill will be passed this time around.
"We don't want angry people finding out next January they can't get on a plane because they don't have the right driver's license," said State Rep. Jim DuPlessis, who filed the bill.
But Kentucky is not the only state feeling reluctant to make changes to their driver's license.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said, "Montanans do not want or need Real ID," a program he said "raises real concerns about the unnecessary collection of Montanans' personal and private information by the federal government."
In the meantime, residents in states that do not meet Real ID standards can use a second form of ID such as a passport, military ID, an enhanced driver's license (only available in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington) or a Global Entry ID. By Oct. 1, 2020, all driver's licenses must meet Real ID requirements or travelers will have to use another form of ID.
"Over the next two years, those states that are not Real ID compliant are strongly encouraged to meet the requirements of the law for the benefit of their residents," Johnson said in a recent statement.
In the meantime, here are a few things travelers should keep in mind when it comes to their identification before traveling.
Make sure that your passport is up to date: In recent months, there has been a higher volume of travelers renewing their passport. If you are one of them, it is best to renew 6-8 weeks before the expiration date. Howard Goldman, a senior counselor for TSA, noted in a webinar presented by American Society of Travel Agents on Real ID requirements that only 35-40 percent of Americans have a passport.
Make sure your driver’s license is up to date: As of right now, it is OK to use your current driver's license or state identification as a way to board a plane. When the law fully goes into effect in 2020, although your driver's license is not expired, if it does not have the "Real ID" emblem on it, you will have to find another form of identification.
Real ID does not extend to cruise or train travel: As of now, those traveling by boat or train will not have to worry about identification meeting Real ID standards.
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