Starting January 22, 2018, travelers from nine states will need a passport for domestic flights.
Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington will require travelers to present a passport for traveling within the United States. A military ID or permanent resident card will also be accepted.
The change was made because of unmet federally mandated “security standards” in those states.
Travel and Leisure reports:
On Thursday, the TSA began placing signage around airport security checkpoints to inform travelers of the new TSA rules going into effect in 2018.
The IDs from these nine states do not meet the federal government’s minimum security standards. And, according to the REAL ID Act of 2005, federal agencies (like the TSA) are prohibited from “accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”
In order for states to pass the government’s security standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses.
If the nine states currently on the list change their ID process, the government “may grant extensions or determine compliance for additional states as warranted,” the TSA said in a statement. “TSA will update signage if and when states that are currently listed receive extensions.”
Rather than update their standards to meet the TSA’s high expectations, nine states will simply require stricter means of identification.
Seventeen other states also do not meet federal requirements, but they’ve been granted extensions.
Updating security to comply with government rules has proven a difficult task, and many states must weigh citizens privacy against security throughout the arduous process.
As ridiculous as it may sound, simply requiring a passport for domestic air travel has proven easier than keeping up with the government’s rules.
Travel and Leisure continues:
Only 24 states (plus Washington, D.C.) currently comply with the rules set forward in the act. The remaining states have been given extensions (through 2017) to meet REAL ID standards.
But the process to change state-wide ID standards is lengthy. Legislature in many of the states, including Missouri and Kentucky, has been issued to the state house floor in order to comply with federal government standards. But these bills may have trouble getting passed due to growing concerns over privacy.
Travelers from the nine states can either get a passport or wait and see if their state’s laws change in time to comply with the TSA.
Officials are calling the measure a means for making air travel safer. Stricter rules from the TSA is often considered the “new normal” due to the threat of terrorism.
But evidence that the TSA is preventing terrorism is minimal. The TSA may be able to boast about their record for busting drug smugglers, but little else.
The TSA make people feel safe though. Despite its pitfalls, such as undercover investigators smuggling mock explosives and weapons through checkpoints 95 percent of the time, the TSA can still make people more comfortable getting on a plane.
But is the loss of personal freedoms worth it for so-called security that can’t defend itself with real evidence?
The loss of privacy, the concern which has left so many states falling behind government standards in the first place, can be contested by state policies. That is, until the feds decide those states will have to chose between protecting privacy rights and permitting domestic travel without a passport.
If you think that the new rules sound outrageous, Forbes suggests you stop complaining and go get a passport.
This means that if you’re going to take a flight and you have a state-issued ID from one of those nine states, you will need a passport to go anywhere. That includes going to the next state, across the country, or even to Walt Disney World, as all domestic travel is included in these new standards.
Yes, traveling by air seems to have been made more difficult by the federal government, just as it has been made more complicated because of the need to remove our shoes at security check-in. But this new move is considered another way to make traveling safer, and another example of the new normal.
Again, to be clear, The Real ID Act is going to maintain that the residents of the nine included states must have another form of ID, most typically a passport, other than their state-issued driver’s licenses for international and domestic flights.
If this applies to you, start applying for a passport now. 2018 isn’t too far away. And there will be a last-minute rush for sure.
Are new passport polices justified? Or are they the result of states’ failure to keep up with with bogus but strict security measures that accomplish little more than limiting Americans’ personal freedoms?