I’m sure your reaction was –” Wait… whatttt?” Here’s a little backstory for you. In some states and territories, proof of citizenship or residency is not needed to get a license. After 9/11 happened, Congress passed The REAL ID Act in 2005, making the government set standards for the issuance of forms of identification. This keeps federal agencies from accepting certain driver’s licenses and other forms of ID not meeting the requirements. If you are from American Samoa, Louisiana, Minnesota, or New York, you will need a passport to travel on domestic flights beginning sometime next year in 2016. If you’re in any of these states, you may want to think about moving out if you cannot live with this.
This new change isn’t too bad. The REAL ID act is being implemented in stages. Exact dates are unknown, but there will be a 3-month forgiveness period where people will be warned their licenses are no longer valid. If you’re from New Hampshire, you may need a passport a lot sooner than you expect. This state has an expired extension and federal officials will have to start reinforcing this rule starting January 19. Yikes.
Enhanced Drivers Licenses are accepted to board flights, as well as passport cards, permanent resident cards, Global Entry, Nexus, and US Military ID. If you have none of these forms of identification, stop whining like a drama queen and get to the nearest post office ASAP, pick up a form, and thank me later. 🙂
Source: Travel & Leisure, Homeland Security
Image: courtesy of Tuomas Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net