Last updated: 02:15 PM ET, Fri September 18 2015

Driver's License As Airport ID? Not In These Four States

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 18, 2015

Driver's License As Airport ID? Not In These Four States

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An intriguing development is starting to take shape in airport security, according to Travel and Leisure.

Beginning in 2016, adults with driver’s licenses in the states of New York, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire, as well as the U.S. territory of American Samoa, will not be able to use that as their only form of identification to get through security, even on a domestic commercial flight.

According to the magazine, the licenses from those four states and the territory are not compliant with the security standards outlined in the Real ID Act, which was enacted back in 2005 but has been rolled out in stages over the last 10 years.

REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, the Department of Homeland Security says, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

The final phase is coming up next year, at least for the aforementioned states and territory – “Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.” That is, a driver’s license or identification card from a noncompliant state may only be used in conjunction with a second form of ID for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

Why these four states? Unknown. DHS and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection both declined to comment as to why the licenses from those states are considered substandard.

All we know for now is, if you live in one of those five states or territories, using your driver’s license as ID is not enough. You will need to produce a second form of acceptable government identification, including passports and passport cards, as well as permanent resident cards, U.S. military ID, and DHS trusted traveler cards such a Global Entry and NEXUS.

The TSA will also accept Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, but they are used only for travel from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries – and only for entry by land or sea, not air.

Children under 18 years of age do not need ID when traveling with an adult.


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