With summer right around the corner, you might be starting to plan a few vacations. And, if your plans include travel outside of the country or on a domestic flight from Florida to somewhere else in the United States, you might be wondering what type of identification is required to get on that plane. Prior to 2005 you could board a plan for an in country flight simply by showing your driver’s license or other state issued identification. Passports were not needed to travel from state to state, but were needed if you planned to leave the country. But that has all changed now, with the implementation of the Real ID Act.
The Real ID Act requires U.S. citizens to have specific identification in order to board planes, even those that do not travel outside of U.S. airspace. If you do not have a Real ID Act approved license or identification card, you might not be able to fly. But it is not that simple, and even though Florida is Real ID Act compliant, there are still some things you should know about the Act. The four phases of implementation of the Act include:
- As of April 21, 2014 you cannot be granted access to Department of Homeland Security offices in Washington, DC without an approved form of identification. This could be an approved state ID or driver’s license, or a passport.
- As of July 1, 2014 nuclear power plants became off limits if you do not hold the proper form of identification.
- In January and October of 2015 most federal facilities became off limits without a Real ID Act approved form of identification. This might include a military base or other federal facility.
- On schedule for January 22, 2018 you will not be permitted to board a commercial plane if your ID is from a state that is not compliant with the Real ID Act.
These restrictions were designed as a way to fight the war on terror, as well as to get a handle on immigration. But the rules are confusing, and can wreak havoc on your vacation plans. Again, even though Florida is in compliance (with driver’s licenses having a star in the upper right corner to denote the license is compliant and should be accepted across the country), the above four points is a good quick reference to the Act’s implementation.
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