“Now boarding Delta flight 235 to Orlando.”
You may not hear that sentence the next time you book a flight somewhere unless your driver’s license is up to snuff. The good news is there’s no need to fret, because the Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for state driver’s licenses to meet REAL ID standards by two more years. The new deadline is January 22, 2018.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in order to “prevent the fraudulent issuance and use of driver’s licenses and identification cards, thereby ensuring the safety and security of the American public,” said Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security. “Given today’s threat environment, this requirement is as relevant now as it was when the 9/11 Commission recommended it.”
Mashable reports that 23 states and territories have completely met the new standards, while six are completely not compliant. The extension is meant to give all local governments time to meet the standards before their identification cards are useless for domestic air travel.
This extension applies particularly to local governments and residents in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington and American Samoa. Residents will still be able to use their licenses at airport security checkpoints, but once the two year extension is up, they will need to have alternative form of identification to board an airline.
According to Mashable, the extension will include two years of warnings to the public about the deadline for getting a different ID. By July of this year, TSA will issue web-based advisories and by December, that effort will be expanded to include signs and handouts at airport security checkpoints. If by January 22, 2018 there are states that still have not complied, passengers with driver’s licenses from those states “will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.” If their state is compliant, it’s bon voyage for them as they are all set.
Elizabeth Gerber is a freelance journalist based out of Louisville, Ky. She writes for Paste, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Insider Louisville and StyleBlueprint.