New TSA-Approved ID for air travel, Travel Tips

At the airport


Understanding new rules for what kind of ID is required to board a plane in the USA


Why you need to pay attention?

You may have heard rumblings about new rules that will affect what identification TSA agents will accept at airport security checkpoints.  There’s been confusion because - while the Real ID Act is law - several states (and by extension, their residents) are not compliant and are currently operating under a grace period.

So what is the Real ID Act?  Part of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, the law is intended to enhance national security by establishing minimum standards for issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.  In short, it’s meant to stop the production and use of fake IDs to board commercial airliners.

Currently, 20 states and four territories are not compliant but have been granted an extension until October 2018 (which could be further extended); American Samoa is currently not compliant, and residents there will be subject to enforcement as of February 5, 2018.

To see if your state or territory has meet the requirements of the Real ID Act, click here

What do you need to do if you live in a state that’s compliant?

If your state has already converted to the Real ID-compliant licenses, you must physically go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to request a new license.  You’ll need to present identification, such as a birth certificate or passport.  However, know that the TSA reportedly won't be enforcing this new rule until October 2020.

KidTripster Tip: As before, TSA doesn’t require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with an adult companion inside the USA.

What do you need to do if you live in a state that’s not complaint?

Nothing, yet.  You may continue to use your state-issued license at TSA security checkpoints.

Do you need to do anything if you already have a passport?

If you have any of the following forms of TSA-approved identification, you don’t need to worry about the new Real ID-compliant license:

    •    U.S. passport

    •    U.S. passport card

    •    DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

    •    U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents

    •    Permanent resident card

    •    Border crossing card

    •    DHS-designated enhanced driver's license

    •    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

However if you’re going to use your passport, for example, as your primary ID for travel, you’ll need to remember to bring it with you to the airport, even for domestic flights.

For more information, go to the Homeland Security’s website.

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