UPDATE, Jan. 14: The TSA has responded to many questions about the changes, outlining answers to common questions on a new website. It says that until January 2018, if traveling by air, residents from ANY state are still able to use a driver’s license, or any of the various other forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration.
In the fall, it was widely reported that people from four U.S. states may need a passport to fly domestically this year. Now, the Department of Homeland Security has increased the list of U.S. locations not offering state driver’s licenses that comply with new federal regulations known as the Real ID Act.
The complete list now is:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- Washington state
- Puerto Rico
- the U.S. Virgin Islands
Under the act, all licenses must be equipped with machine-readable technology, which typically comes in the form of a chip. The IDs being issued now are considered non-compliant.
Residents from these states would have to fly on another form of ID, most likely a U.S. passport or passport card. However, only about four of every 10 Americans have a passport, according to the State Department. Other acceptable forms of ID will include U.S. military ID, permanent residence cards or trusted traveler cards like NEXUS or Global Entry.
How To Prepare for a Flight
The deadline had been set for mid-January, but the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t set firm guidelines in place, it’s expected that travelers will have at least four months notice before the changes go into effect.
Note: This information was accurate as of Jan. 4. Travelzoo will update our readers when there are updates to these new policies and new domestic air sales.