The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going to make a decision this week that could greatly change things in some airports. Depending on what decision they make, some states may now allow you to get through airport security and board an airplane in 2016 with just your driver’s license. Yes, that’s for domestic travel in the United States.
As of now, there are a lot of things that could end up standing in the way of this, so don’t get nervous yet.
When DHS makes their decision, if it’s put into place, it will only be for people in a handful of states. It also would not take affect until the end of April at the earliest. Even then, DHS could still postpone their decision and give it some more thought.
According to Newser, the United States government passed the Real ID Act, which issued stricter standards for state-issued IDs, and that included driver’s licenses. This was done in an effort to crack down on the potential of terrorists and criminals obtaining state-issued IDs.
The Real ID Act makes it much harder to get a driver’s license if you’re using counterfeit records.
Oddly enough, only 22 states have actually complied with that law. The law does still state that noncompliant IDs cannot be used to board domestic flights, but TSA and DHS have not been enforcing it.
DHS said earlier this year that an announcement would be made by the end of 2015 regarding stricter enforcement of the law on air travelers. Well, that time has just about come and an announcement is on the way.
The majority of fliers in noncompliant states won’t necessarily be affected any time in the immediate future. 19 states have been granted waiver extensions through Oct. 10, 2016. Four states have their extension waiver requests under review.
Here are the 19 states that have been granted the waiver extensions:
- North Carolina
- New York
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
The four states that have waives pending review are:
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
With that, WGNO is reporting that there are five states which could give domestic fliers trouble and soon. These fives states have been deemed noncompliant, haven’t been granted an extension, and don’t have one under review either.
- New Mexico
Even living in those states may not cause you trouble right away. DHS doesn’t yet have a schedule for its enforcement, and once they do, they will give 120 days notice before TSA ends up no longer accept IDs/driver’s licenses.
Once a decision is made, those states could also file an appeal.
Finally, here are the 22 states that already comply with the law. These states, along with Washington, D.C., already have drivers’ licenses that comply with the Real ID Act’s stipulations.
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
Many are worried that this new law, if actually put into place, could end up causing a lot of issues and delays with domestic travel. There is still a bit of time before any of this would go into place even if the Department of Homeland Security does make the decision to go through with it.
Some may want to prepare though and think about getting a passport now, just in case the ruling from the DHS is not in favor of just allowing driver’s licenses be used for domestic airline travel.
[Image by Robert Alexander/Getty Images]