Might a passport soon be necessary for a trip from Minneapolis to Seattle? Maybe… For nearly a decade, the Transportation Security Administration has been advising states that the IDs they issue – mainly driver’s licenses – must be compliant with the security standards set down in the federal government’s Real ID Act of 2005 if their residents use them to board flights – either international or domestic.
And now the clock is ticking on several states that haven’t yet met that requirement– they complain about the expense and effort it would take to add holograms and other security devices to licenses.
Travel agents, who could be saddled with the burden of fixing a mess like this, are particularly concerned. Trade publication Travel Market Report states, “Until now, the general consensus was that the states would be allowed to progress slowly, as long as they were making some effort in the right direction. But the saber-rattling in the White House is beginning to make travel industry insiders a little more concerned.”
This all means that that starting January 22, residents of those states will have to show a passport at the airport instead of a driver’s license. Even if you don’t live in one of these states, traveling to or from one of them could be a hassle due to the possible back ups a airport security. Those states include:
- South Carolina
- Washington State
Actually, the deadline for compliance had been October 10 of this year, but TSA granted the states an extension until January 22.
It’s always possible that some of those states might make the required changes to their IDs before the deadline, but how could they distribute new licenses to everyone in just three short months? It’s also possible that the feds could grant additional extensions for compliance– which is what everyone expects, but who knows?
In any case, if you have an ID from one of the affected states, you might want to get into the habit of carrying your passport with you when you travel, even for domestic trips. If your passport is on the verge if expiring, better act fast to renew it, because that’s a process that can take several weeks unless you pay extra for expedited service. See this: When does your passport expire?
I always travel with my passport– even for domestic trips…just in case. What about you? Will the feds go through with this disruptive move or is someone bluffing here? Leave your comments below.