Starting January of 2018, residents of Pennsylvania will be required to present a form of identification other than a driver’s license or state-issued ID card when boarding a flight.
Recently the TSA began posting signs of the change in air travel requirements. Due to the state not being compliant with the the REAL ID Act, a state-issued ID card will not be considered an acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel.
The state does not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act due to legislation, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
On PennDOT’s website it’s states, “Our commonwealth does not currently meet these federal standards due to the passage, by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, of Act 38 of 2012, which bars the Governor and PennDOT from participating in REAL ID”
PennDOT’s explanation for being out of compliance is due to limited technical reasons.
PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said, “PennDOT has always focused on providing a secure driver’s license and supporting process and we already have made additional improvements. In large measure, we are out of compliance for limited technical reasons and because existing state law bars us from fully complying. While we understand frustration with the cost of this unfunded federal mandate, our failure to comply because of the prohibition of current law will be a burden for Pennsylvanians.”
In a statement earlier this year, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson said, “So, for a license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant, the state issuing it must, for example, incorporate anti-counterfeit technology into the card, verify the applicant’s identity, and conduct background checks for employees involved in issuing driver’s licenses.”
According to Johnson, the main goal of the REAL ID Act is to be a preventative measure against fraudulent uses of driver’s licenses and ID cards.
While Pennsylvania’s non-compliance will affect air travel in 2018, the impact of the REAL ID Act will be felt sooner in other areas. Beginning January of 2017, a PA driver’s license will not be an acceptable form of identification for visiting nuclear power plants, federal facilities or military bases. A federally approved form of identification will be required to access those establishments.
Here is a list of acceptable forms of identification from the TSA:
- U.S. Military ID (Retired military and their dependents or active duty, and DoD Civilians)
- U.S Passport or passport card
- Permanent Resident card
- DHS Trusted Traveler’s Card (NEXUS, FAST, SENTRI, Global Entry)
- DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Border crossing card
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card or Canadian provincial driver’s license
- Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
- Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
- Transportation worker identification credential
For now, until January of 2018, residents of all states will be able to use their driver’s license of state-issued ID card for domestic air travel.