American citizens in nearly two dozen states have the coming year to fall in line with new identification rules set by the government. If not, those residents may be unable to fly on domestic flights without a passport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in October that 37 states were compliant with new identification requirements mandated by the Real ID Act. Nineteen states, however, have yet to be fully compliant with the rules, which will govern all state-issued driver’s licenses or ID cards accepted by authorities and also needed for air travel.
The agency initially imposed a deadline of October 2018 to enforce the new ID rules, but since many states still didn’t adhere to the rules, another extension was granted.
TSA: These 19 states and territories must comply with new ID rules in 2019
TSA said last year that it would begin posting signs in the country’s airports to remind people that the agency would start to enforce the ID requirements.
A compliant identification consists of either a photo ID or an ID with your complete name, birth date, signature, eye color, gender and anti-counterfeiting technology among other things.
Inspired by recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2005. The law prompted a mass crackdown on fake IDs and mandated that all states and territories enact stricter standards before issuing IDs. New technology was rolled out that made it harder for criminals to trick the system and mimic ID cards. The new rules also meant that Americans needed more proof of identity — such as original birth certificates and the like — when applying for the cards.
Since then, most states have complied with the new ID rules but several have dragged their feet for various reasons ranging from privacy concerns to budgeting issues. Here are the 19 states that need to comply by a separate deadline in 2019:
|Noncompliant Jurisdiction||2019 Extension Ends|
|California||Oct 1, 2020|
|Massachusetts||Jan 10, 2019*|
|Guam||Jan 10, 2019*|
|Virginia||Jan 10, 2019*|
|Minnesota||Mar 01, 2019*|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Apr 01, 2019|
|Rhode Island||May 01, 2019|
|Alaska||Jun 01, 2019|
|Montana||Jun 01, 2019|
|Northern Marianas||Jun 01, 2019|
|Illinois||Jun 01, 2019|
|Kentucky||Aug 01, 2019|
|Missouri||Aug 01, 2019|
|Pennsylvania||Aug 01, 2019|
|American Samoa||Oct 10, 2019|
|New Jersey||Oct 10, 2019|
|Maine||Oct 10, 2019|
|Oklahoma||Oct 10, 2019|
|Oregon||Oct 10, 2019|
* These five states are issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs
Traveling out of the country soon? Take this step
As we reported previously, people in those states may want to consider ordering a passport just in case so as to become TSA-compliant sooner rather than later. If you don’t expedite the process, the typical time it takes to get a passport is four to six weeks, according to the Department of State.
It is the purview of the head of the Department of Homeland Security to grant REAL ID extensions, the agency says on its website:
“Federal agencies may not accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by states that do not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act. However, the Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant extensions of time to meet the REAL ID requirements to states that provide adequate justification for noncompliance. Federal agencies may accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by noncompliant states that have been granted extensions by DHS.”
Is the government using REAL ID to create a national database?
One of the main criticisms about the REAL ID Act is that many people see it as the government’s attempt to use Americans’ personal information to create a national database that could be used for nefarious reasons. This is what Homeland Security says about that assertion:
“REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances.”
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