These Drivers Licenses Soon Won’t Be Valid Airport ID

Filed Under: Security/TSA

If you have a driver’s license from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, or New Hampshire, you may soon need a second form of ID to get through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

This comes after the Real ID Act was introduced in late 2013, which set the security standards for government issued IDs. Unfortunately as a result, IDs from some states are considered non-compliant. In the last phase of its implementation, IDs from those states may no longer be valid for getting through airport security.


Via Road Warrior Voices:

The act has been enforced in phases over the past couple years, and the government has now reached the final phase, which is the aircraft phase. Fliers who could previously breeze through security with their licenses from those non-compliant states will need to provide a second form of identification, such as a passport, once the Real ID Act is fully implemented and enforced. This will happen “no sooner than in 2016.” (All accepted ID options are listed here.)

New York media has been reporting that the NY state driver’s license will be rendered invalid as a form of ID for flying in 2016. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson informed us, though, that there were “no announcements” yet about when this final phase would be fully rolled out.

Personally I have a hard time imagining this will be implemented. I don’t fully understand the TSA’s need to ID to begin with. If they were confident that they were properly screening passengers, it shouldn’t matter who is going through security for a domestic flight.

Some would argue there are constitutional issues with restricting freedom of movement within a country, though I’m not sure I totally buy that as an argument against IDing at airports, since there are other ways you can move around the country which don’t require ID.

Still, if we’re so concerned about IDs being “secure” that we’re restricting people from flying with drivers licenses, I think it’s time we rethink our priorities (we should probably be rethinking our priorities either way, but…!).

Do you think we’ll see this act implemented, whereby IDs from the above states won’t be considered valid ID when flying?

  1. The standards for IDs are incredibly lax in practice. My home state issues these ridiculous paper facsimiles whenever you renew a license and then mail you the plastic one later. Despite assurances that they are a fully valid form of identification, absolutely no one that I’ve seen ever accepts them as such, which makes the entire process a huge pain (and completely unnecessary, since they used to just print the plastic ones on the spot).

    Yet when my mother tried to use one to fly, the TSA officer let her through but suggested she carry an additional form of ID with her in the interim, explicitly mentioning a *Costco card* as an option.

  2. I agree with you. Anyone can get a DL or ID with a birth certificate even from someone who is deceased. States like CA that issue to illegal aliens (notice I didnt say undocumented). TSA is just a PITA ,complete waste of time as evidenced by the # of 80 yr olds who have been subjected to TSA pat down.The best in the world at this are the Israelis, period hands down. We are amateurs compared to them.

  3. “I don’t fully understand the TSA’s need to ID to begin with” Really???

    How about a criminal/terrorist/etc. using someone else’s identifying information to travel. TSA can screen the person named on the reservation. But the only way to confirm that the screened person is the one actually traveling is to check ID. That would be just one reason to verify identity with an actual document.

    Yes, the act will be implemented. It is likely to get delayed while these states catch up.

  4. @ Veejay — Right, but if they’re properly screened (and presumably not traveling with anything dangerous), why does it matter whether there’s a “criminal” on the plane?

  5. Rand > There is no reasonable way to implement the screening that Israel uses for their flights. Israel has a fraction of the air traffic that the US does. It is unfair and unreasonable to expect that level of scrutiny for every flight taking off at an American airport.

  6. lucky > you really want a child molester sneaking out of the country with “his” kid? or the infamous chapo flying in and out of our airports? or how about the thousands of passengers who fly through the airport with arrest warrants in their name?

  7. Yeah right. No way politicians from these states would ever let this happen. They would have lots of angry constituents.

  8. Also, it is pretty easy to get through security with no ID. People lose their IDs all the time and are not prevented from flying. They may get a little bit of extra security, but no big deal.

  9. It is a freedom of movement issue, at least in part because some parts of the United States do not present any other practical way to move within US territory without air travel…e.g., Hawaii (other than sparse and expensive cruises to the mainland which, IIRC, have to stop in Mexico which means it’s not travel within the US); US Pacific territories; etc.

    But TSA checking ID does nothing for security…it’s just a part of the security theater.

  10. This requirement is needed for Nevada residents too I’m 2016 and is required when entering federal bldgs as well

  11. Technically, the TSA doesn’t require any ID card. You just have to have a way of proving that you are the person your boarding pass says you are. This is how countless people travel when their wallets get stolen on trips, and there are lots of stories online about it.

    That being established, a state ID could be considered a form of expedited screening, since without it, it takes a lot longer to prove your ID. As such, noncompliant IDs could be considered valid unless the screener has some other reason to challenge your identity.

  12. Lucky if you are going to write a story about invalid state DL you need to include all states.. AZ is one of them.. Our legislators knew our new DL wont be valid to fly, but they still gave the green light to produce them. Now they want to charge me another $25 to get the correct version… Nah, I’ll use my passport..

  13. The fact is the TSA can’t find its @$$ with both hands. Enhanced IDs or not, the TSA is a joke, nothing more than a bunch of incompetent, lazy, surly employees in a bloated, backwards organization charged with the security of the flying public. All the regulations in the world won’t improve security until competent, intelligent, well paid security officers are used at all US airports.

  14. Ironically, NY is one of the few states to offer Enhanced Driver Licenses that can be used at land border crossings in lieu of a passport.

  15. Freedom of movement, like any other constitutional right, is not absolute. As long as the restriction is based on a compelling state interest (national security) and the policy is necessary to accomplish that state interest (checking IDs is reasonably a necessary way to accomplish it.)

  16. “Personally I have a hard time imagining this will be implemented. I don’t fully understand the TSA’s need to ID to begin with. If they were confident that they were properly screening passengers, it shouldn’t matter who is going through security for a domestic flight.”

    Agreed insofar as we’re talking about one size fits all screening. But with Pre-Check, the company line is reduced standards for pre-screened low-risk passengers. You’d need to positively ID the name on the BP matches the person for that to work…

  17. I think citing Israel as an example of how security is done “well” is fundamentally flawed because as a nation the Israeli people have essentially bought off on the idea of exchanging some amount of privacy/freedom for security. I highly doubt Americans would willingly go through multiple stages of screening/questioning to board a flight; the frazzled tourists waiting in TSA lines at LAX 30 prior to departure are a testament to that.

    As for denying travel with invalid forms of ID in the case of these states: this won’t be enforceable by virtue of the fact that those being penalized (the traveler) has in fact committed no infraction. I think the feds can (an will) compel these states to adopt Real ID provisions quickly, but at the expense of American citizens. And expense is the operating term. Sure, a passport is a totally acceptable form for domestic travel. But passports are also expensive and, for the vast majority or Americans, useless since most will not be traveling internationally. Granted, the cost of a passport vis-a-vis the cost of a ticket is paltry, but I can certainly see an organization going to court over an effective traveler’s tax. Luckily we are not signatories to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which lists the freedom to travel unimpeded as a fundamental human right and any form of ID requirement, let alone a costly one, could be argued as overly burdensome.

  18. Veejay > The TSA is not a police force. It is not their job to verify how much money someone is carrying, whether or not there’s an arrest warrant, or any other law enforcement issue. That’s mission creep. They are charged with ensuring flight safety by keeping weapons off the planes–something that they’ve repeatedly proved themselves incompetent at doing, even with “proper” ID.

    As for the idea of a child molester “sneaking out of the country with ‘his’ child,” the airlines already require single adults traveling with a child to have documentation that the child has permission to fly with that person, presumably to prevent kidnapping, including by one of the parents in case of divorce disputes, etc. That’s not the TSA’s job.

    As Lucky points out, the ID requirement doesn’t make flights safer (hint: it’s for revenue protection). In Europe you show your boarding pass at security but only have to show ID at the gate.

  19. Susan > There is an entire security/law enforcement apparatus that operates behind the scene. Checking IDs is an absolutely vital aspect of that apparatus. The TSA is the only mechanism to accomplish that. Like it or not, that apparatus isn’t going anywhere. As far as my examples go, they were limited to the criminal element. The obvious risk is the terrorist element. No one can argue against the value of denying travel to, or inflicting enhanced security procedures on, those on known terror watch lists. Without identification verification, nothing stops such a person from boarding a plane under an assumed name.

  20. Not everyone is screened to the SSSS standard. You need “real” IDs in order to have 99%+ of screenings taking place at a lower standard.

    The shame is on the Feds allowing so much slack time in the implementation of the law. Should have taken place years ago.

  21. Ben, as your link states, the Real ID act was passed in 2005 and every few years the federal government threatens to actually enforce the provisions related to interactions with the Federal government (flying would be an example since it’s regulated at a federal level). Each time it has had to back off or otherwise change the time table because states were unable to fund the cost of adopting IDs that meet the standards. Each time the list of non-compliant states gets shorter but they always end up backing off and I would not be surprised if they do so again.

    Something left out though is that both New York and Minnesota offer enhanced driver’s licenses which can be used so for them at least it’s a subset of the population.

    As to the need for ID, a proper screening process starts before you even arrive at the airport with the check of your name and personal data against lists of potential threats. That process plays a big part in determining the type of screening you go through. This is indeed the premise behind pre-check, in theory those individuals present the least threat, therefore they should receive the lowest level of screening. Your boarding pass is one big factor in the type of physical screening you receive. However I can buy a ticket and print a boarding pass all with a different name than my own rendering all of the above process useless. Providing some level of identification prior to the physical screening is therefore necessary, otherwise to screen properly would require everyone be treated equally, no Pre-check and we all get the glove treatment.

    As to constitutionality, as you will always be able to verify your identity via other means there is no argument against restriction of movement. If you did make that case though, the federal standard is not providing the restriction, the refusal of the state to comply with the federal standard is and the holdout states could be forced to comply.

  22. this is to prevent foreign criminal illegal invaders from using fake DL and ID. We know the foreign criminal ILLEGAL INVADERS use fake US passports and fake US DL & fake legal resident card to defraud the system!

  23. Tried to use my Green Card as ID for TSA and they said it is no longer accepted as ID. Now the Government of my State does not have the funds to issue a compliant driver’s license. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  24. This happened in HNL
    TSA: “Hey Ivan, can you show me an ID?”
    Me: “I did not bring one.”
    TSA: “You don’t look like you are lying, just go.”

    And I…

  25. I have flown without any ID before (just an expired student ID and a debit card that didn’t even have my picture on it) — so I think this (banning NY IDs) would really be the last straw. The TSA seems to always focus on the wrong thing.

  26. Anyone can get an ID – There are plenty of states, off the top of my head those include CA, CO, DC, MD and others, that issue official state DL’s and ID’s to illegals and others – how much “verification” do you think goes on when one applies for one of those? All you need in most cases is proof of residence – a copy of a utility or phone bill, something easily created with a PC and Microsoft paint…

    The entire TSA ID requirement for boarding a plane is just a (now union) jobs program for otherwise unemployable morons.

  27. I find it amazing that this discussion is taking place around the anniversary of September 11 and there is no discussion as to why this requirement was put in . According to the 9/11 Commission, one of the biggest weaknesses in our national security was the easiness of obtaining fake identification for non-citizens. According to reports, the 19 terrorists were holding 63 state driver’s licenses for identification.

    You might disagree with the need for identification as security procedures–there are strong positions of debate on either side. But you are missing the forest for the trees (excuse the cliche). The federal government cannot constitutionally force states to pass specific drivers licenses standards. The only option the federal government has is to restrict the acceptance of drivers licenses for identity for federal purposes. Those are limited to federal buildings and interstate commerce (in this case, transportation). Thus, to get the states to comply, they require certain minimum standards, again, for purposes of meeting recommendations from the 9/11 report.

  28. Will Global Entry cards work as IDs? I may just start carrying that around in my wallet to use for domestic flights if my New York Drivers License won’t be accepted as ID.

  29. Also does anyone know if this refers only to the old-style (pre-2014) New York drivers license, or the current new ones as well?

  30. Kevin > It isn’t the TSA’s fault that some states MAY have verification procedures that are not as thorough. Common sense dictates some sort of identification system is required to implement security protocols at airports. There is no national ID system in this country. Short of everyone producing a passport, a state ID is the only option.

    Everyone else commenting on how they got to board an airport using a library ID card or a Costco card, that is exactly what this law should stop. No more skirting the ID requirement.

  31. The ID requirement was a request from the airline industry to prevent people from re-selling tickets, a practice which was very common in the old days. I even bought & sold some myself back then. The premise of using driver’s licenses as proof of someone’s identity is absolutely laughable — every single city has a bad area wherein fake driver’s licenses can be procured at a modest cost. I was reviewing the employee records for a large farm in Florida a few years back. It was amazing — every single field worker had a Social Security & DL card on file. 1,000+ of them, ALL fake. Some were laughably fake, but many were quite good.

    @Susan: Incorrect — the TSA is charged with “reassuring the public” that flying is safe, NOT actual safety. Unfortunately they’re failing on both counts — I feel LESS safe with the TSA involved and TSA’s internal reports state that they’re batting about 10%-15% success on scripted tests…if even that.

    @Veritas: Global Entry / Nexus cards work fine with TSA, and anywhere else for that matter. If I’m asked for ID from anyone, I present my Global Entry card. It has my name, photo, DOB, and that’s it. No address, nothing else. It won’t scan into databases in cashier lines, it keeps nosey HOAs from pulling any information. I’ve had cashiers ask, “do you have a driver’s license?” “No.” and they just push the transaction through. Bonus: Most people in the USA are clueless…about Global Entry…so quite often I’ve been mistaken for diplomat or government agent.

  32. As someone not from the US, I just don’t get this. Why don’t these states just get their act together and produce an ID that’s compliant with the requirements of the federal government?

  33. @takke: One word: Greed. Very little is done in the way of US government contracts without some exchange of favors/money.

    For these states to become compliant they’d likely have to purchase new equipment from a different vendor than whom they’ve been using. This would also likely end some of the kickbacks these people have been getting by keeping the older equipment going.

  34. Your state-issued driver’s license will not be accepted by TSA as proof of your identity?

    No problem! Just show TSA your Costco card! That’s what Erica Ho did at LAX when she lost her state-issued driver’s license. TSA welcomed her like a long lost friend.

    The highly skilled team of security professionals at TSA are well versed in the process of identification. They know that Costco uses the highest levels of technology to verify your identity. After all, Costco won’t let just anybody in to spend money at their club!

    Maybe all states should suspend issuing driver’s licenses and send everybody over to Costco. After all, TSA has given Costco their stamp of approval. If TSA likes it, that’s means it’s really super safe!

  35. I don’t fly open, but I am an NRA/BSA RSO and instructor, past military, and an armed security officer. As such, it is second nature for me to travel – any mode – with my weapon.

    That being said I of course follow all rules which are: cannot be carried in carry ons, must be in a locked solid (not fabric) gun case in your checked baggage, clip or ammo separate.

    I won’t say anything about TSA but I will tell you a funny story. As we waiting to board to come from from Florida to Missouri at the Orlando airport, my name was called out over the loud speaker…apparently the WHOLE AIRPORT. I’ve never heard that done before.

    Here come 2 undercover TSA agents. They were so undercover it was obvious, lol. They come running up and are pointed to me.

    Now, you have to picture this. I have on shorts, fairly short shorts, tank top, and flip flops. 2 grandchildren with me.

    They appeared out of breath, but they clearly and loudly (which scared the daylights out of the travelers watching this unfold)….’where is it, ma’am’. I say ‘where is what’. ‘where are you carrying’. ‘carrying WHAT’. Your weapon, ma’am.

    I’m surprised me that I wasn’t arrested for my reaction…and the kids. We all burst out laughing. I said, yes, I have a weapon….its in my CHECKED baggage! And besides, look at me, where would I put a S&W .40!

    They appeared slightly agitated, embarrassed and relieved all at the same time. Evidently when the check in people reported to them that I had a weapon in the baggage, they failed to add one little detail….that I was not BOARDING with it. And they apologized.

    I thought to myself, I wish I had taken pics. This would have been something to scrapbook! Will be a memory for all of us, I’m sure.

  36. My son just turned 21. His driver license is no longer valid. He needs to go from Arizona to Minnesota. Can he get on a plane.

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