New York, New Hampshire, Louisiana & Minnesota Residents Will Need Passports To Fly Domestic
Forget about delays, flying domestic just got more difficult.
Following increased security measures after September 11th, a new act is calling into question the fortitude of some states’ identifications, requiring residents to offer another form of identification when flying domestically.
Residents of New York, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Minnesota and American Samoa are affected by the REAL ID Act, which accounts for over 31 million Americans. In those five states, residents do not have to show proof of citizenship or residency in order to obtain a license, which is what makes their identification noncompliant.
The act, which intends to strengthen security in the country, was enacted by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, but the new rules will go in effect “no sooner than 2016.” Which means residents of those states need to start considering their options.
Other forms of identification that are viable include military or governmental IDs, a passport, a passport card, an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or a DHS trusted traveler cards such as NEXUS or Global Entry.
Unless you are a member of the military or a government employee, the best option, from a cost perspective, for an alternative ID is the EDL as it is $30. The process is fairly simple and only requires going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. An additional bonus, EDL holders can travel by land or by sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda without a passport. However, only New York and Minnesota offer the EDL, leaving over 3 million Americans in the dust.
The next cheapest option is a passport card. It is $55 and can be used instead of a passport if traveling by land or by sea to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Applicants do not have to have a passport to receive a passport card, making it a lower-cost alternative to a passport.
DHS trusted cards are another option and range in cost from $85 – $122.25, depending what type of card a person is interested in obtaining. These cards are aimed at improving passenger experiences, allowing them to clear security or customs faster. However, applicants must be approved prior to obtaining cards, so this option is not a sure thing.
Far and away the most expensive option is the passport, clocking in at $135. With more than a third of Americans holding passports, this new law could force more Americans to obtain one. Plan ahead as expediting a passport application can add at least $60 more to the fee.
Despite the bad news, experts say not to panic. Citizens will have ample time to prepare before their IDs need to be upgrade or fortified.
“We have submitted a request for an extension to the REAL ID Act and our discussions with the Department of Homeland Security have been very productive,” said New York State Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson. “We have no reason to believe that any New Yorker will have a problem using their current state-issued ID card to get on a plane come January 2016.”
Alexandra Talty is a journalist living in Southampton, New York. The founding Editor-in-Chief of StepFeed, her work has appeared in Techonomy, Publisher’s Weekly and The Southampton Press, among others. She is also on Twitter.
This article was written by Alexandra Talty from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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