Will I Need A Passport To Travel Domestically In 2018?

Brittany Reed

The Real ID Act of 2005 required states to update their ID regulations to include certain information in order to be recognized and valid to the United States federal government. States were given a timeframe, as well as extensions, to update their state issued IDs, and some states have taken a bit longer than others to make the switch. What this means is that starting in 2018, your state-issued ID may not be accepted when taking a domestic flight, and you may be required to carry with you a passport even if you’re not traveling outside of the country.

So far, the states that haven’t been compliant with the act have been given an extension until January of 2018, which could become October if the extension is extended again. This means that until the extension runs up, your state-issued ID from one of these states will still work as your identification if you plan to travel domestically. The list of non-compliant states includes:

  • • Kentucky
  •  Maine
  • • Missouri
  • • Montana
  • • Oklahoma
  • • Pennsylvania
  • • South Carolina
  • • Washington


While having a state issued ID from one of these states won’t disallow you domestic travel, it may make taking a domestic flight a little less convenient. For travelers from these states, federal officials and professionals within the travel industry do urge those who plan to travel domestically by air to look into getting their passports or to make sure their current passports are in good standing.


What Does The Real ID Act Require?


The Real ID act has some specific requirements for state issued identification cards and drivers’ licenses. Some of these requirements include:

  •  A person’s full legal name
  • • Gender
  • • Date of birth
  • • Copy of signature
  • • Clear front-facing photograph
  • • Principal residence address
  • •  Identifying number


On top of these basic informational requirements, the Real ID Act of 2005 also requires some technological changes to keep people safe. New state-issued IDs will feature security features that prevent counterfeiting ID cards and tampering, while also having all information presented in a format that is readable by the machine.


What If My State Has Complied With The Real ID Act?


If your state has been compliant with the new requirements, you should not be required to travel domestically with a passport, as all TSA checkpoints should be able to recognize your compliant state issued ID or drivers’ license. For those in non-compliant states, however, it is always best to opt for the cautious and prepared approach by having a current passport on-hand before traveling to the airport.

While getting a passport or passport renewal may not be what you wanted to do before your domestic flight, it will ensure a smoother and more comfortable experience during the 2018 travel year. Whether you travel frequently, or only find yourself at the airport every handful of years for a special trip, having your passport on hand will ensure your adventure will be a smooth one, and you won’t be turned away by security.

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