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If You Live in One of These Nine States, You’ll Need Your Passport to Fly Anywhere

Author: David McMillin       

If you look in your wallet, you’ll probably find what you consider to be your real ID — a driver’s license or state identification card. However, the Transportation Security Administration is more concerned about REAL ID, a program passed by Congress in 2005 that sets security standards for various forms of identification. Starting on Jan. 22, 2018, some state-issued driver’s licenses won’t meet the requirements of the program. If your identification is issued by one of the following states, you may encounter some challenges getting through an airport security checkpoint — even for a domestic flight:

  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

There are some exceptions to this rule. According to the TSA, affected travelers “may continue to use your state-issued driver’s license or ID for domestic air travel only if your state has been granted an extension to the compliance deadline by DHS.” However, the Department of Homeland Security’s website doesn’t offer much guidance around the Jan. 22 deadline. Instead, it tracks those nine states and a number of other states that currently have extensions to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards at federal facilities and nuclear power plants. All those extensions end on Oct. 10, 2017.

So what should you do? Your best bet to avoid any potential issues is to make sure that your passport — which adheres to REAL ID requirements — is updated. According to the State Department, the current processing time for routine service ranges from six to eight weeks, but that time may speed up soon. The slow season for renewals runs between September and December. You can find all the information for a first-time passport application or renewal here.

Looking for more assistance for your next trip? Check out “These Free Tools May Help You Speed Through the Airport.”

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