Anyone living in the U.S. knows air travel can be a pain. Even if you're only flying to a state away, security checkpoints, long lines, and cramped cabins all add to the misery of flying. Knowing some flying basics can ease your struggle, but a long day at the airport or on a plane can be taxing on anybody.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the federal government is setting its sights on travelers using driver's licenses to fly. New travel ID requirements are set to finalize in October, 2020, and you'll need an updated version of your driver's license in order to validate your place of residence.
If you don't have one of these new-edition licences, you may need to grab your passport even if you are just flying domestically.
The REAL ID program, signed into law in 2005, is finally taking effect more than 10 years later. If you want to prevent travel issues before they begin, read on to find out if your state ID is compliant with the new program.
What is "REAL ID," and how am I impacted?
REAL ID is a new standard the U.S. government is using to verify residency for travelers. This, like many other TSA and DHS regulations, is meant to help with compliance issues that can potentially lead to illegal traveling, fake IDs, and potential terrorism.
Most states are already compliant with the new regulations, and have been issuing updated ID cards and driver's licenses that meet REAL ID standards for years at this point. A few states, however, are still working out the kinks in the system in order to get their resident's on board.
If you don't have a REAL ID compliant license or ID card, you may be required to use a passport for domestic flights in addition to international ones. Getting a passport can take some time, so it's in your best interest to make sure your state has already complied, or received an extension for the program.
Which states are approved for REAL ID?
As of this point, almost every state is either compliant or has been granted extensions by the federal government. Only California remains as an outlier, with its residency verification policy not meeting federal standards.
Since the REAL ID program was enacted, California had only required residents show one form of ID to receive a license or card. That policy was deemed unacceptable, and California is currently sorting those issues out.
Right now, the states with REAL ID extensions are Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Montana, Oregon, and Alaska. In California, some IDs have already been issued under REAL ID compliance despite the federal audit. The government has promised to honor these IDs as valid for the time being.
To find out where your state stands on REAL ID, you can check out the Department of Homeland Security's REAL ID website. This page will also show you where you can go to get a REAL ID of your own.
Save time at the checkpoint with Mobile Passport
If you're unable to get a REAL ID in time, or prefer carrying your passport, the Mobile Passport app can help you save time when you're checking in for your flight. This app is the only one approved by U.S. Customs & Border Patrol for quick check-ins, and will grant you access to a "fast lane" at airports for security and inspection.
The app can store your passport information right on your device, so you don't have to worry about whipping out your passport at the airport and potentially losing it. For more information, you can check out Mobile Passport's website. I recommend looking at the FAQ section for all the detailed information they provide on streamlining your air travel experience.
Planning to fly in 2019? Check out the best times to book flights
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