New ID Requirement for Domestic Flights Beginning in 2018

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues moving toward its REAL ID deadline.  REAL ID sets requirements for identification that U.S. residents can use to board domestic flights. Here is the latest information:

  • On January 22, 2018, all domestic U.S. air travelers will be required to:
  • More than half of U.S. states are compliant and issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet REAL ID standards. Most other states have been granted extensions by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, giving them until October 10, 2018 to become compliant.
  • As of December 5, 2017, only Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands remained under review for compliance. For now, federal agencies—including the Transportation Security Administration that conducts passenger screenings at U.S. airports—continue to accept IDs issued by these states and territories.
  • Starting on October 1, 2020, every U.S. resident will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification to board a domestic flight.

Congress passed the REAL ID Act following a post-9/11 evaluation of security measures. For a driver’s license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant, the state issuing it must take steps to increase security, such as incorporating anti-counterfeit technology into the card; verifying the applicant’s identity; and conducting background checks on employees involved in issuing driver’s licenses.

For more information, check out the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID webpage.