REAL ID Rules for Domestic Flights
If you’re worried about whether your driver’s license is compliant with new REAL ID requirements for domestic air travel, you can relax for now, but not for long.
Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel; a driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent).
Beginning May 3, 2023, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.
The federal government has stopped accepting noncompliant licenses as ID for domestic flights since Oct. 1, 2020. The REAL ID licenses are designed to be counterfeit-resistant with secure features such as holograms.
PASSPORTS – Of course, U.S. passports and passport cards remain acceptable alternative documents for use instead of a driver’s license for air travel. Several other types of government-issued ID are also acceptable, such as Global Entry and other “trusted traveler cards.”
MINORS – According to DHS, the Transportation Safety Administration “does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States,” though their companion needs acceptable ID. Contact the airline regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.
LICENSE OPTIONS AND TIMING – Some states are now offering more than one type of noncommercial driver’s license. In New York, for example, three options are offered: a standard driver’s license that cannot be used as ID for air travel or border crossings; a REAL ID-compliant license for use on domestic flights; or an Enhanced license, which is acceptable for land or sea entry to the U.S. when crossing borders from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, as well as on domestic flights.
I looked at the map and most all states are issuing the REAL ID when applying or renewing state driver’s licenses.
If your current license is not REAL ID-compliant and it is not due for renewal until after the May 3, 2023, deadline you may want to get one that meets the new rules ahead of your renewal date. Check your state government’s website for the latest information on renewal procedures and options.
In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a pat down and screening of carry-on property. You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you choose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.
TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.
There is a website for you to browse – see if your state is compliant or if you have been issued a REAL ID….go to: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id