Currently boarding a domestic flight is as simple as showing your state issued driver’s license. In fact, these days it’s about the only time I ever need to show my driver’s license. (And yes, that was both bragging that I never get pulled over while driving, and mourning the fact that I never get ID-ed when I buy alcohol.) However, next year the laws will be changing.
The US Department of Homeland Security recently confirmed plans to require passports for domestic travel from some states. More specifically, starting January 22, 2018 anyone with a driver’s license issued by a state that does not meet requirements will be required to show an acceptable alternative ID.
Though DHS has not released an official list of non-compliant states, many sources currently point to 8. Unless changes are made, residence of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington will need to use an Alternative form of ID.
TSA will accept Passports, Passport Cards, Global Entry Cards, and US Military IDs. Additionally, travelers can use airport issued IDs or tribal-issued photo cards. Thankfully, children under 18 traveling with a companion will still not need to show any ID.
So what does this mean for you today? Likely nothing. However, in my opinion obtaining a Passport should be on your priority list. The Real ID Act was written in 2005. For years DHS has been working with local state officials to get IDs in compliance. Extensions have been granted and dates continue to be pushed back.
But soon TSA will enforce these rules. As everyone scrambles to obtain Passports, the wait will likely grow. Currently routine processing time is 6 weeks. Why wait until you can’t travel to apply for one?