UPDATE: The Real ID compliancy deadline has been extended for all states. Click here for the latest on this story.
If you live in Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, or Minnesota, you may want to strongly consider getting a passport.
It may soon be the only way residents of those states can experience airplane travel, thanks to the REAL ID Act, which technically went into effect on January 1.
Overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the law requires the states to enforce stricter policies when issuing driver’s licenses. Without the new, federally-approved identification, a citizen will not be able to enter government facilities and, eventually, not be able to board domestic flights.
Nowhere is that possibility more real than Washington, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, and Minnesota, which were either not granted extensions to adhere to the law by the DHS or deemed “noncompliant” with the REAL ID Act.
Reports vary over the exact date by which driver’s licenses in the holdout states will be considered invalid, and information given by the DHS is vague. However, the agency has said it would give a 120-day warning before non-ID Act licenses would be unacceptable forms of identification to board domestic flights.
Also unclear is how the DHS will treat the holdout states going forward, and experts have advised residents there to obtain passports as at least a temporary solution.
Although the law was first officially passed in 2005, and states have had 10 years to comply, many were slow to make adaptations to their licensing processes and some outright banned the federal legislation in their state, citing concerns over privacy rights, the price of the program, and forming something akin to a national ID card.
However, in an attempt to achieve congruency across the country, the DHS has offered deadline extensions to a number of states still lagging behind the regulations, while designating the efforts of others adequate.
Currently, the designations are as follows:
- Washington, D.C.
- South Dakota.
- West Virginia.
Deadline Extended to January 22. 2008
Deadline Extended to October 10, 2016
- New Jersey.
- New York.
- North Carolina
- North Dakota.
- Rhode Island.
- South Carolina.
Deadline Extended to June 1, 2016
- New Hampshire.
Deadline Not Extended
- New Mexico.