New Rule: Residents In Nine States Will Need Passports For Domestic Flights in 2018Forbes
October 15, 2017
When traveling, it's best to plan ahead whenever you can. For example, you may have thought you don't need a passport because you don't travel outside the United States. But for residents of nine states, that will change at the beginning of 2018 for any commercial flight, whether international or domestic.
As reported by Travel and Leisure, nine states will no longer allow travelers to board an airplane with just their state issued driver's licenses as of January 22, 2018. To get past TSA security checkpoints, another form of identification will be required: passport, permanent resident card/green card or a military ID.
The Real ID Act of 2005 states that state-issued IDs from these nine states do not meet the minimum security standards of the federal government:
Back in December, it was announced that signage would start being placed around the security checkpoints in airports to remind travelers of what is to come. With just a few months until the Real ID Act goes into full effect, it is time to start planning now and look into getting your passport.
Some states have started working on offering federally approved issued IDs that would not require a passport for domestic air travel. Check with your local government office to see if there is a different type of ID you can apply for.
These posters are huge reminders that 2018 is not nearly as far away as it seems. On January 22, 2018, the enforcement for those nine states will go into effect, and by 2020, even more people will end up needing a passport, as confirmed by the official website of the TSA.
This means that if you're going to take a flight and you have a state-issued ID from one of those nine states, you will need a passport to go anywhere. That includes going to the next state, across the country, or even to Walt Disney World, as all domestic travel is included in these new standards.
Yes, traveling by air seems to have been made more difficult by the federal government, just as it has been made more complicated because of the need to remove our shoes at security check-in. But this new move is considered another way to make traveling safer, and another example of the new normal.
Again, to be clear, The Real ID Act is going to maintain that the residents of the nine included states must have another form of ID, most typically a passport, other than their state-issued driver's licenses for international and domestic flights.
If this applies to you, start applying for a passport now. 2018 isn't too far away. And there will be a last-minute rush for sure.