Residents of 4 States May Soon Need a Passport to Board Domestic Flights

A federal rule that could take effect in 2016 would no longer allow residents of New York, New Hampshire, Louisiana and Minnesota to use their driver’s license as valid identification.

WASHINGTON – Residents of New York, New Hampshire, Louisiana and Minnesota may soon learn their driver’s licenses are no longer considered valid identification for boarding domestic aircraft under federal rules that could take effect next year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says.

In those four states, as well as American Samoa, residents do not have to show proof of citizenship or residency in order to obtain a driver’s license, which is what makes their identification noncompliant under the latest phase of the federal REAL ID Act.

The act was authorized by the DHS in 2005, but the new rules will go in effect “no sooner than 2016,” according to the DHS. Other forms of identification that are viable include military or governmental IDs, a passport, a passport card, an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or a DHS trusted traveler cards such as NEXUS or Global Entry.

The DHS began rolling out Real ID in 2014. Phase one involved restricted government areas, and phases two and three concerned semi-restricted areas like nuclear power plants. But phase four touches federally regulated aircraft and therefore will affect millions of people.

“The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards,” the DHS states. “Individuals holding licenses from noncompliant jurisdictions will need to follow alternative access control procedures for purposes covered by the Act.”

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