Travel Tip of the Day: Will Your Driver’s License Be Enough to Get You on a Plane in 2016?

Gate 81 in Newark, pre-boarding

Will Your Driver’s License Be Enough to Get You on a Plane in 2016?
The subject of today’s tip may not concern you today, but it could soon affect you in a big way. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress back in 2005, rewrote the minimum security requirements for all forms of federal identification—including driver’s licenses. A plan of enforcement was finally announced at the end of 2013, and since then, the states have independently been refreshing their driver’s licenses to ensure they can continue being accepted as federal ID. As noted in the act, the new policy will apply to, “no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

So, if you don’t have a license that meets the new requirements, you could soon need an alternative form of identification to board a plane. That will affect drivers in four states: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York (as well as American Samoa, a US territory). These states have not yet completed their overhauls of their driver’s licenses, and so licenses they’ve previously issued may not be enough to board a plane with.

As the Consumerist emphasizes, it’s not quite black and white. It’s not clear when exactly the new licenses will be required at airports (the start of 2016 is the earliest possibility), and in New York and Minnesota, there are “enhanced” licenses available that will be compliant with enforcement of the new law. It’s something to keep an eye on, and to be aware of if you’re a license-holder in one the above states.

FYI: The boarding gate above is at Newark Liberty International, from which United operated seasonal service to Newcastle, UK (and may again next summer).



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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

3 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Will Your Driver’s License Be Enough to Get You on a Plane in 2016?"

  1. Another way for NY state to make people pay more money.

  2. The article doesn’t provide any constructive information, it’s hardly a tip.
    What are we supposed to, who are we supposed to contact to find out and when?

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