by Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press, December 29, 2017
If you're worried about whether your driver's license is compliant with new REAL ID requirements for domestic air travel, you can relax for now.
A grace period for meeting the new rules is set to expire Jan. 22. But licenses from 27 states plus Washington, D.C., are already compliant with federal REAL ID standards, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Another 23 states have been granted extensions for meeting the new rules, according to DHS. That means you can continue to use noncompliant licenses from those states for domestic air travel for now.
Three of those states that received extensions have approvals pending for being certified as fully compliant with REAL ID requirements: Louisiana, New York and Michigan.
The federal government will stop accepting noncompliant licenses as ID for domestic flights on Oct. 1, 2020. The REAL ID licenses are designed to be counterfeit-resistant with secure features such as holograms.
Of course, U.S. passports and passport cards remain acceptable alternative documents for use instead of a driver's license for air travel. Several other types of government-issued ID are also acceptable, such as Global Entry and other "trusted traveler cards."
According to DHS, the Transportation Safety Administration "does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States," though their companion needs acceptable ID.
LICENSE OPTIONS AND TIMING
Some states are now offering more than one type of noncommercial driver's license. In New York, for example, three options are offered: a standard driver's license that cannot be used as ID for air travel or border crossings; a REAL ID-compliant license for use on domestic flights; or an Enhanced license, which is acceptable for land or sea entry to the U.S. when crossing borders from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, as well as on domestic flights.
Some states do not yet offer REAL ID licenses. Minnesota, for example, expects to offer them later in 2018.
If your current license is not REAL ID-compliant and it is not due for renewal until after the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline, you may want to get one that meets the new rules ahead of your renewal date. Check your state government's website for the latest information on renewal procedures and options.
Details on REAL ID: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id
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