There have been headlines all over the news this week reading “Driver’s licenses from five states will no longer be valid to board domestic flights,” leaving travelers concerned that they will not be able to get through TSA with their state issued IDs. These stories started to pop up last September and reemerged recently, flooding news outlets. To be honest, as someone who has a business trip scheduled in two weeks, I looked at the list of “invalid” licenses to make sure that my state wasn’t on there. After all, I do not want to be caught at TSA without my passport if I need it for my domestic flight.
This all stems from a law that was passed ten years ago, called the Real ID Act, which was put in place to crack down on fake IDs used in federally operated and regulated facilities set to start on January 10, 2016. Less than half – 22 to be exact – of the states have complied with this recent law. The remaining other states - except for the five referenced in the headlines - have plans in place to get their state IDs compliant, are pending review, and therefore have been granted an extension. Those states with no review pending or extension are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington.
What You Need To Know for Your Travelers
What does this mean for travelers in those five states? What do you need to put in place to avoid those travelers to run into issues next week with their state IDs?
Travelers can still get through TSA checkpoints with a state issued ID – from any state. Including the five listed above.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that they will eventually require TSA agents at checkpoints to accept only Real IDs (IDs that meet the new federal standard). However, they have not given the start date for that requirement. DHS’s Real ID Enforcement in Brief, DHS has outlined their schedule for the various enforcement phases for where these Real IDs will be required and state that they “will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft.” Under the Real ID FAQ section of the website, they explicitly answer the question about whether you need a passport for domestic air travel starting this month - the answer is no.
In times like these, when it is imperative to know if a threat or disruption to your business travelers is real or not, that having a travel management company (TMC) on your side is a huge benefit. Here at MacNair we keep an eye on these situations, review the facts and notify our travelers of what they may need to know. Just as important, is to make sure that you work with your TMC to ensure that your travel policy addresses any disruptions that may arise for your organization and your travelers. Having an advocate on your side to keep you abreast of any potential disruption to your travelers ensures more productivity, support and control for your overall travel program.
We are here to help – if you’re interested in learning more about developing a travel policy for your organization, or need to update your current policy, please download our Travel and Expense Policy Workbook for additional information.