FAQ: Do I Need a Passport for Domestic Travel

In March 24, 2016

Travel regulations are constantly being updated to ensure the highest level of security. This can seem like a hassle to frequent travelers, but at the end of the day, these regulations help make sure that passengers get from point A to point B safely and on time.

One big change reportedly coming to domestic US air travel is that driver’s licenses issued by some states may no longer be accepted as a form of ID for TSA. Beginning in January 2018, the states issuing ID’s or driver’s licenses not compliant with the Real ID Act will require passengers use a different form of valid ID, such as a passport, to show when traveling, even domestically.

At the present time, the states listed below are considered non-compliant, and have not currently been granted an extension:

  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Washington

If you live in one of these states, you should be aware of any potential future air travel restrictions. While this change is currently pending, once in effect, residents will only have 120 days to comply by presenting a valid US passport, or other approved alternate ID, to the TSA agents at airport security. If you or someone you know resides in one of these states, you should be on the lookout for any changes happening in the future.

Wondering why this change will be happening? The change in regulations is due to the Real ID Act, passed by congress in 2005 to standardize the issuing of driver’s licenses and other forms of identification. This Act put in effect a set of federal standard minimums that must be met by agencies issuing and producing driver’s licenses. When you reside in a state that does not meet these minimum standards, there are limitations on where you can and cannot use a driver’s license issued by that state as a valid form of identification. These places include Federal buildings and property, nuclear power plants, and airports. However, to help roll out this act smoothly and efficiently, it was determined it would be released in four phases. It is currently in phase four, which is the restriction of non-compliant state driver’s licenses as proper identification for domestic air travel. States can apply to have an extension granted so residents can continue to use their driver’s license even though the state is currently not Real ID Act compliant yet. The states and territories below have received this extension valid into 2016:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Guam
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Residents of the above states or territories can use their state-issued driver’s license as a form of ID when flying domestically until October 10, 2016 – except New Hampshire where the extension is currently only valid until June 2016.

The remaining 23 states are currently Real ID Act compliant, which means residents can use their state-issued driver’s licenses to board an aircraft domestically without concern. If you need to obtain a passport, whether to travel internationally or to have compliant ID to fly domestically, you can learn more about what you will need for that process here. For all of your vital record needs and information, you can count on VitalChek to have your back!


  1. I forget my sister date of birth I need to check her date of birth but the thing is the only thing that I have her information is only her name:Elizabeth Gonzalez and her social security number is **********. can u help me to get the information of her date of birth certification thank you

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      To obtain your sisters birth certificate you will need to know the required information and be entitle to order. Each state has a list of people they consider entitle to the record. To find out if a sibling is entitle to order and what proof of entitlement you will be required to provide you can contact the states vital records office or you can contact our office at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

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