United States: Reminder - REAL ID Domestic Air Travel Requirements Take Effect on January 22

• If you fly within the United States on or after January 22, 2018, your state-issued driver's license or ID card will be acceptable for domestic air travel if your state is in compliance with REAL ID security standards or has received an extension of time to comply. • If your state is not compliant and has not received an extension, you will need alternative identification - such as a valid passport - for domestic air travel on or after January 22.

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Jan 05, 2018

The situation

Beginning January 22, air travelers in the United States must show identification that complies with the document security requirements of the REAL ID Act.  If you use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card when traveling domestically:

  • The state of issuance must meet REAL ID requirements or have received an extension of time to comply; OR
  • You must present an alternative form of identification, such as a valid passport or other acceptable documentation to board a domestic flight.

Is your state driver’s license acceptable for domestic air travel?
Before January 22, 2018, check the REAL ID compliance status of your state using the Department of Homeland Security’s map.

  • If your state is compliant, you may use your state-issued identification to board a U.S. domestic flight.
  • If your state was granted an extension, you may use your state-issued ID to board domestic flights through the extension date.
  • If your state is under review, prepare to use alternative documentation for air travel as of January 22.  Keep checking the map, however, because DHS could grant your state an extension or deem it compliant at a later date.

Other acceptable forms of identification
If your state has not met the requirements or received an extension, you may use one of the following Transportation Security Administration-approved documents, among others, when flying domestically:

  • An unexpired U.S. or foreign passport;
  • A DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST);
  • A USCIS employment authorization document (EAD); or
  • A DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license (EDL) (even if your state’s REAL ID compliance status is under review).

For additional acceptable documents, see the TSA’s full list
Looking ahead
By October 1, 2020, all U.S. states will be required to issue driver’s licenses and state identification cards that meet REAL ID security standards.  All domestic air travelers will be required to use a REAL ID-compliant document by that deadline.
This alert is for informational purposes only.  If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.

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Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates, (collectively known as “Fragomen Worldwide”) is the world’s largest firm dedicated to corporate immigration, and is recognized as the leading global immigration services provider.

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