First what is the REAL ID?
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. It’s one of many measures to protect us from terrorism. With this act, residents are required to show a compliant REAL ID in order to board a plane for domestic travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implements this. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues the compliant ID.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recently officially extended its Jan. 22, 2018 deadline for the implementation of the REAL ID Act. There were about 10 states who were not in compliance and did not get an extension. Now, even these states have an extension until Oct, 2020, to travel domestically with their existing IDs. So, if you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington, no worries now! You can still travel without a passport domestically.
These states have full compliance already: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
These states have existing extensions: California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia. So are Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Only Alaska is still under review for an extension at time of writing.
Timelines keep changing as states take action to get into compliance. To get more information about the REAL ID, and to check each state’s status, go to the Department of Homeland Security site.
If you live in CA, you can start making appointment at your local DMV offices beginning Jan 22, 2018 to obtain a REAL ID. You have until Oct 2020 to do so. Even though we are allowed to renew our license and IDs in the mail, if you have yours coming up for renewal, you might just want to go into the DMV and get a compliant REAL ID. Here’s more info for Californians at the DMV site.
Children under 18yrs can travel without ID if they travel with an adult companion.
But I’m always advocate for US Passport because having that document really opens up your world! Even if you want to visit our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, or get on a cruise from our home state ports in Florida, Washington, or California, etc., you will need a passport as they call on other countries.
Here’s a guide I wrote about: getting a new US Passport. Let’s get you ready for some exciting travels in 2018 and beyond! As always, reach out if I can help!