If you want to take a quick flight from JFK Airport to Chicago next year I hope your passport is up to date and packed in your bag because you may need it.
The Department of Homeland Security deemed driver’s licenses from certain states lack sufficient security features and identity verification information, and thus a security threat for passengers boarding planes. Yes, even domestic flights. The DHS is enforcing the Real ID Act, which declares that starting in 2016, the Transportation Security Administration will not accept driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire as well as from American Samoa as a valid form of identification. A passenger will need to supply a passport in order to travel on a domestic flight.
The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as an added layer of protection in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. Homeland Security introduced various Real ID counter-terrorism measures in 2014, beginning with restricted government areas and semi-restricted areas like nuke plants. This is the final phase that will address federally regulated airliners.
Definitely not pleasant news to the estimated 38 percent of Americans who don’t own passports.
This may totally shock you, but the government agencies don’t have their shit together, and there’s not an exact date in 2016 on when these changes will go into effect.
“DHS will ensure the public has ample advance notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change,” they say on the Real ID website. “That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver’s license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft.”
“We have no reason to believe that any New Yorker will have a problem using their current state-issued ID card to get on a plane come January 2016,” the DMV said in a statement. So you can rest easy now that the DMV is assuring that your life won’t be more complicated.
To circumvent getting a passport, people can use military or government IDs, a passport card, a Homeland Security-accepted traveler cards such as NEXUS or Global Entry, or an Enhanced Driver’s License. Applications for EDL’s are made in person, requires proof of identity, Social Security number, residency, date of birth and citizenship, plus it will cost $30 extra.