Domestic travel just got more challenging and expensive thanks to the national implementation of REAL ID Act. According to the Department of Homeland Security, REAL ID is a federal mandate that sets a national standard for identification documents. States do not have to participate but federal agencies do.
This means the Transportation Security Administration will not be allowing passengers who do not have driver's licenses compliant with the new DHS REAL ID standards or other forms of acceptable identification, such as passports, through security checkpoints. The cost to obtain or renew a passport varies, but it can be over $100.
Half of the states, 25 to be exact, already issue driver's licenses compliant with REAL ID standards and 17 other states have been granted extensions for making the change.
According to SimpleMost, residents of the eight noncompliant states that have not been granted an extension—
- South Carolina
—will have to find suitable alternative IDs when traveling domestically from those states prior to Jan. 22, 2018.
According to the TSA website, here is a list of some alternative acceptable forms of personal identification documents: U.S. passports, U.S. passport cards, U.S. military IDs, DHS trusted traveler cards, permanent resident cards, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Cards (I-766).
But domestic travel is not the only area affected. Entrance into any federal building or facility that requires ID will also uphold REAL ID standards and deadlines.
For residents of those eight states, the REAL ID deadline for admittance into federal buildings is fewer than two weeks away. SimpleMost writes:
“As of January 30, 2017, IDs from non-compliant states will not be accepted for entry into federal facilities, nuclear power plants or military bases. IDs from states that have been granted extensions will be accepted until the extension deadline.”
The Real ID Act will have no effects on voting eligibility. Additionally, minors under age 18 traveling domestically will not be required to have personal identification compliant with REAL ID standards.