Driver’s Licenses From Four States Will Soon Be Invalid For Airport Security, Is Yours One Of Them?
And a giant “Ugh!” arose from New York. And from Minnesota, Louisiana and New Hampshire, when it became known earlier this month that residents of those states will have to find alternatives to their driver’s licenses to get through airport security, starting as early as next year.
This change is due to the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 and gradually being implemented.
“The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards,” says DHS spokesperson Amanda DeGroff, “and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.” American Samoan driver’s licenses will also become invalid for airport security purposes.
I could not get a direct comment about why specifically those states’ licenses are invalid, but I assume they fall short of the criteria listed on the department’s website. In addition to the expected name, address, date of birth and such, criteria also include “physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes” and “a common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements.”
REAL ID has been rolled out in phases since April 2014 at locations like government offices and military facilities. The final stage involves I.D.s valid for boarding aircraft; it’s scheduled to take effect “no sooner than 2016,” the DHS website says.
Combined, these four states make up about 10 percent of the U.S. population, or around 31 million people.
So if you’re a New Yorker, a Minnesotan, Louisianan or a New Hampshir…ian (?!?), what is there to do? One options for New York and Minnesota residents are “enhanced” driver’s licenses (EDL), which generally function like passports for travelers to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean but cost extra to the bearer – New York’s is an extra $30.
“If you do not have an EDL,” says the New York Department of Motor Vehicles on its website, “you will have to show a secondary form of identification in order to fly.” DHS says that acceptable forms of identification will continue to include passports, U.S. military I.D.s, permanent resident cards, cards from DHS trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry and NEXUS, and more arcane options (full list here).
The New York DMV has also asked for an extension for these changes.
This article was written by Andrew Bender from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.