You Need To Know About TSA's New Driver's License Policy

Photo: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images.
As if getting through airport security wasn't already a pain, the Transportation Security Administration just announced a major change that will affect travelers from nine states. Travel + Leisure reports that starting January 22, 2018, residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington will be required to travel with an alternate form of identification from just your driver's license. If you live in one of those states, you'll need either a passport, a military ID, or a permanent resident card to pass any TSA checkpoint after that date.

You may be wondering how the TSA can just make a change like this, but the policy is all in accordance with the Real ID Act of 2005. According to the act, any federal agency can decline to accept driver’s licenses or other identification cards that don't meet the act’s minimum standards. Those minimum standards state that every ID applicant must have their identity verified, every card must contain anti-counterfeit technology, and background checks must be done on everyone who issues driver’s licenses. The nine states whose residents can no longer pass TSA with just their driver's licenses do not meet the act's standards.

At this point, a total of 26 states have drivers licenses that don't comply with these standards, but 17 of them have been given extensions through 2017 to meet them. By 2020, every single traveler from every single state will be required to carry identification in compliance with the Real ID Act. We know this all seems pretty complicated, so you can check out all the information currently available from TSA, here. Or, just go ahead and get yourself a passport.

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