Time for that Passport

Time for that Passport

In the world to travel there is a deadline coming that you need to know about. On January 22, 2018 several ID’s like some driver’s licenses used as your ID at airports must be compliant with the Real ID Act of 2005. If your ID is not complaint with the Real ID Act TSA will not accept your ID as proof of identification and you will not be able to get thru security to board domestic flights.

Since I was 16, a very long time ago, I have been able to use my State drivers license to get on a domestic flight. As of January 22, 2018 your State issued drivers license or identification card may no longer be recognized by TSA.

Imagine, if you will, arriving at the airport after an hour drive and discovering that security will not take your Texas drivers license because it is not compliant with the “Real ID Act”. You smile and explain to the nice man in the uniform that this is your drivers license and or course it’s your ID. The TSA officer smiles and explains that because your State Government failed to make your drivers license compliant with the “Real ID Act” you can’t get thru security, you can’t get on the plane and the reality strikes you like a lightning bolt, you can’t fly to Miami and go on your $5000 cruise. On January 22, 2018 that could be your life.

Have I got your attention? In order to get thru TSA security after January 22, 2018 you must have a Real ID Act compliant ID. If you are relying on your State issued ID and your state is one of the light-colored states on the right you need to get a second form of ID, now. According to the most recent data on Wikipedia all of the States that are light green have failed to issue driver license’s which are compliant under the Real ID Act.

A big part of the Real ID Act is to force the States to get ID cards that have specific security features intended to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes. These cards must also present data in a common, machine-readable format. I haven’t seen much about this “READABLE FORMAT” thing but having had to deal with government bureaucrats for many years my fear is that if you have an old ID from one of the States that are complying with the Real ID Act an older drivers license without all the fancy compliance bells and whistles, it may not work. Wouldn’t that suck. Your from a State that is complying with the Real ID Act but your 5 year old drivers license isn’t compliant! Say good bye to that flight and your dream cruise.

The easiest way to insure that you do not get hung up in security on January 22, 2018 is to get a passport. A Federal passport is a “real” ID under the Real ID Act and even though your driver’s license may no longer be accepted your passport will be accepted and you will be able to get thru security, on your plane and fly to your dream cruise.

If you have read this far there is a new problem. At this time in order to get a passport you will have an estimated wait time of 6 to 8 weeks to get your passport. I could see where that 6 to 8 week wait could be longer because of the Real ID Act there is an influx in passport requests. If you are ready to take the leap and apply for a passport you can go to the Department of State website to begin the process.

It is hard to guess how the deadline of January 22, 2018 will effect the ability of travelers to clear security but, to be on the safe side, it may be time to get a passport. The good news is, with a little maturity, a little love of travel and a desire to spend as little money traveling as possible having that passport will qualify you as a Geezer with a passport.

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