REAL ID update: All states are OK for now

Last updated: Jan. 8, 2018

Louisiana, Michigan and New York have received extensions giving them more time to comply with new federal security requirements for state-issued identification cards.

That means federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration that conducts passenger screenings at U.S. airports, will continue to accept IDs from every U.S. state for domestic flights—at least for now. States with extensions are preparing for the next U.S. Department of Homeland Security compliance deadline of Oct. 10, 2018.

The DHS website provides a state-by-state status report with deadlines and other details. It also lists the status of U.S. territories, most of which have extensions. As of Jan. 8, only American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands were still “under review” for REAL ID compliance.

The final DHS deadline is Oct. 1, 2020, when every U.S. resident will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification to board a domestic flight.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress following a post-9/11 evaluation of security measures. For a driver’s license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant, the state issuing it must take steps to increase security, such as incorporating anti-counterfeit technology into the card; verifying the applicant’s identity; and conducting background checks on employees involved in issuing driver’s licenses.


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