September 1, 2017
September is Passport Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of State is launching an awareness campaign to educate and inform travelers about upcoming changes to travel identification requirements for domestic flights.
Beginning on January 22, 2018, domestic air passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Both the U.S. passport card and passport book are REAL ID compliant. If you already have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, it will remain valid for domestic air travel.
REAL ID Requirements The REAL ID Act, which became law in 2005, requires driver’s licenses to meet minimum security standards for issuance and production. For air travel and certain other purposes, federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards unless those states have been granted extensions.
The U.S. passport book and the U.S. passport card are REAL ID compliant and are acceptable identification to board domestic flights. The U.S. passport card is the same size as a driver’s license and only costs $55 for first time applicants or $30 for those who have already had a passport. A U.S. passport book is always required for international air travel – passport cards are not valid for international air travel.
Applying for a U.S. Passport Passport demand is on the rise and the Department of State expects to see 20 million applications in Fiscal Year 2017. It is best to apply early and to take advantage of lower wait times September through December. For adults renewing their passport, the process can be done by mail.
For information on how to apply for a U.S. passport, visit travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).
For more information on the acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website tsa.gov. To find out if your state’s driver’s license or ID are Real ID compliant visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website dhs.gov/real-id.