1 min read

Nobody Panic!

By Chesley Turner on October 14, 2015 6:34 PM

UPDATE on 11/20: All jurisdictions but the American Samoa and Minnesota now have extensions to comply with the REAL ID Act. For specific information, please reference the Department of Homeland Security's briefing page.

New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire.

Travelers from these states haven't been this anxious about their driver's licenses since the good old college days of fake IDs and pass-backs. Because it seems like the industry is just now remembering the details of the Real ID Act, which first made headlines back in December of 2013.

The Real what?

The Real ID Act, passed by the Department of Homeland Security, set federal security standards for government-issued IDs. With four stages of enforcement to improve/lock down/optimize security, the Act had a long timeline. Phase 4, the final stage, addresses the ability to board aircraft. And that's why NY, LA, MN, and NH residents are starting to get antsy.

Before you cry crisis, take a deep breath.

But before you cry crisis, take a deep breath. Although Phase 4 was outlined to be instituted "no sooner than 2016", that doesn't mean the Federal Government is ready to roll it out right after the Waterford Crystal New Year's Eve Ball drops over Times Square. In fact, they're not quite sure when Phase 4 will get the roll out.

The Department of Homeland Security website says, "DHS will ensure the public has ample advance notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change. That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver's license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft."

That means that before these new requirements might actually keep you from passing through security, you'll probably hear about how to prevent any TSA Checkpoint confusion.

And if you're REALLY anxious about it... go renew your passport. It should be valid for at least six months after your return date, so you may be due for an update anyway.

Chesley Turner

Written by Chesley Turner