Real ID Domestic Air Travel Restrictions

Is Your State ID Valid for Domestic Air Travel?

Wondering if your state driver’s license is valid for domestic US air travel? If so, you’re not alone! There has been much confusion on who is restricted and when these restrictions will be enforced.  This all started with the Real ID Act of 2005.

The Real ID Act of 2005

The Real ID Act of 2005 was passed by Congress to meet the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the US government establish security standards for state identification. Before this act, states could establish their own standards for identification cards and driver’s licenses. By mandating stricter security measures when issuing state identification, the federal government hoped to strengthen our protection against criminal and terrorist activities.

When the Real ID Act of 2005 was passed, it set forth that all states in the US must adhere to Federal security standards by:

  • Verifying every ID applicant’s identity
  • Conducting background checks on the individuals issuing the state ID card(s)
  • Including anti-counterfeit technology within the production of the ID card(s)

Although states have been working diligently to meet these “Real ID” standards, at the time this blog was written there are only 25 compliant states (along with the District of Columbia). Infringing on the privacy rights of state citizens has been cited as the biggest reason why states have not complied with The Real ID Act of 2005.

Real ID for Domestic Air Travel

Today all state-issued IDs are valid for domestic air travel in the US. As of January 22, 2018, however, travelers from states that are not compliant with Real ID requirements must provide a federally approved form of identification to fly domestically (e.g., a valid US Passport). There are other restrictions that may be in effect before the January 2018 effective date so it is important to be aware if your state’s ID complies with The Real ID Act of 2005.

To assist US citizens with the Real ID status of their state, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined which states are Real ID compliant and provided a coded map on their website for reference.

DHS State Compliance Categories

Per the DHS, states are categorized as “compliant”, “not compliant”, or under an “extension” or a “limited extension”. It is up to the states to ensure that they meet these minimum requirements. The state of Ohio is “compliant”, so there are no restrictions for an OH state ID or driver’s license. However, if a state is “not compliant”, they can apply for an extension.

At the time this blog was written, only the following 5 states are considered “not compliant” or “restricted”:

  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Washington

“Not compliant” states can use their driver’s license for domestic travel until January 22, 2018.

However, only an alternative federally approved form of ID is valid for access into Federal facilities and nuclear plants.  

The rules and effective dates for “extension” or “limited extension” states vary from state to state. If your ID is from one of these states, it is best to check the DHS map when planning domestic travel or access to federal facilities or nuclear plants.

Another important thing to remember is that the status of “not compliant”, “extension” or “limited extension” states are changing all the time. When in doubt, check it out!

SACS Consulting Security Services

SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc.’s security services provide companies with immediate security in an emergency or threatening situation of any kind, including employee termination, company breaches or break-ins, the inability to secure the premises or the building, and threats made against management or other personnel. To learn more or speak with one of our security specialists contact or call us at 330-255-1101 today!

Tagged , , , , , , .