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April 3, 2017   //   By:   //   Articles   //   Comments are off

Heads up! If you have a driver’s license from Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana or Washington, start thinking about renewing your passport. Beginning January 22, 2018, residents from these states (and a number of others)* may no longer be able to board a domestic or international flight with their driver’s license alone.

Let’s back up a minute. A piece of legislation passed in 2005, called the REAL ID Act, put stricter regulations on obtaining a driver’s license and requires states to display more information on the actual card. At the moment, this process is governed at the state level, and since 2005, the law has been tabled and pushed back due to complaints of infringement of the 10th amendment (power of the states) and the cost to taxpayers to make these changes.

In 2013, the federal government implemented an enforcement plan and we are coming up to an important deadline. At the end of January 2018, travelers carrying a driver’s license from a non compliant state (that does not have an extension) will need to provide one other form of identification to pass security checkpoints at the airport. Acceptable forms of ID can be a passport, military ID, resident card, and more.**

Many states have made the necessary changes, but there will likely be a few that lag behind the January deadline. Although it may seem like a hassle to the traveler, once all is said and done, all states have complied, and everyone has received a new license, we will have made a big step in increasing national security.

*These states are currently not compliant. There are an additional 19 states that are not compliant, but have received an extension from the federal government. See your state’s current status on this map: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief.

**Other acceptable forms of ID can be found here: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.

***Please find answers to more questions here: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs

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