Starting in 2016, travelers from four U.S. states will not be able to use their driver’s licenses as valid ID to board domestic flights. This is not a new rule that comes our of nowhere, but a law passed years ago that will finally be enforced.
The standard licenses from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and American Samoa are considered “noncompliant” with the security standards outlined in the Real ID Act, which was enacted back in 2005 but is being implemented in stages.
The problem with licences from these five places is that proof of citizenship or residency is not required when the license is issued.
The new rules will go into effect in 2016, with an exact date yet to be announced. There will be a three-month forgiveness period, during which people with these licenses will be warned that their IDs are no longer valid for flights.
New York and Minnesota already issue enhanced licenses that will get through security at airports, but only people that recently renewed their licences have one of those. Other “acceptable” IDs include passports and passport cards, as well as permanent resident cards, U.S. military ID, and DHS trusted traveler cards such a Global Entry and NEXUS.
An official with New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles assured Gothamist that NY licenses won’t be rendered ineffective for plane travel at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. “We have submitted a request for an extension to the REAL ID Act and our discussions with the Department of Homeland Security have been very productive,” the DMV said in a statement. “We have no reason to believe that any New Yorker will have a problem using their current state-issued ID card to get on a plane come January 2016.”
I still have an old NY license myself that expires in 3 years so I guess I’ll report back in 2016.