On December 20th, 2013, a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act was passed by congress. Washington state is one of the states that has not complied with the Federal Read-ID act. This act was passed to establish a base security bench mark for our personal identification. Washington and many other states had licenses that were to easy to counterfeit. Many states have complied and changed their license, but Washington has not.
So, what does this mean to travelers in the future? We will need to use our passports or another form of acceptable ID such as an Enhanced Driver’s License. If you don’t have a passport, I would suggest applying for one sooner rather than waiting until the last minute. A passport, for an adult, is good for 10 years. If you currently have a passport, check the expiration date. Many countries are requiring that your passport be valid for at least 6 months post travel. With the requirements changing, there is liable to be a wait time to get an application processed.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that they will delay the enforcement of Real-ID until October, 2021 due to the government shutdown due to Covid -19 in the spring of 2020. At that point, passengers with a regular WASHINGTON state driver’s license issued will not compliant with the REAL ID Act and will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. Passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is compliant with REAL ID (or a state that has been issued an extension) will still be able to use their driver’s licenses or identification cards.
Current forms of accepted ID to board a domestic aircraft until October, 2021
According to TSA rules, adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.
· Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
· U.S. passport
· U.S. passport card
· DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
· U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
· Permanent resident card
· Border crossing card
· DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
· Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
· Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
· HSPD-12 PIV card
· Foreign government-issued passport
· Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
· Transportation worker identification credential
· U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
· U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
Don’t delay. Get the process started, so you won’t be caught in the rush.