Update: TSA Will Give 120 Days Before "Implementing REAL ID Enforcement at Airports"

Plus: Here are IDs other than driver's licenses you can use to board planes.


Yesterday, I wrote about the looming showdown between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the nation's air travelers over The Real ID Act.

Come January 10, at least nine states and several territories will be in defiance of a decade-old law mandating various security features on the driver's licenses they issue. That raises the specter of people traveling on domestic flights being turned away from airport gates for having non-compliant IDs.

Via JamboJerry comes word of a recently updated, official Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/TSA FAQ that reads in part:

Do I need a passport for domestic air travel starting January 2016?

A: No.  DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for implementing REAL ID enforcement at airports.  DHS will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice (at least, 120 days) before any changes are made that might affect their travel planning.

Until enforcement at the airports begins, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards from all states….

Well, that's comforting, at least in the near term. Minnesota is one of the states that's not in compliance and the speaker of its legislature told KARE 11:

"Minnesotans concerned about REAL ID impacting their travel plans have nothing to worry about for the time being. We are fully committed to working with the governor to ensure Minnesotans' travel plans are not inconvenienced by REAL ID now or in the future."

So what counts as an acceptable form of ID under current guidelines? I've seen a number of people suggest that concealed-carry weapon permits are a viable option, but that's simply not true according to TSA. "A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification," reads the site (italics in original).

Here's the full list provided by the government:

  • Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
  • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • 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

The ID requirement applies to all travelers 18 years and older.

Oddly, though, you can still potentially fly without bringing any ID whatsoever. Once more, from DHS/TSA:

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete a form to include your name and current address, and may ask additional questions to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening.

You will not be allowed to fly if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

Security theater, anyone?

More here.

Last summer, Reason TV's Justin Monticello explained "The TSA's 12 Signs You Might Be a Terrorist" so you can more easily avoid being detained while flying the friendly skies. The short version: Don't be sweaty or blinky.