HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUES NEW ID REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW YORKERS—AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS—HEADING TO US AIRPORTS and CRUISEPORTS
If you are a traveler from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, or American Samoa, head’s up. Travelers from those locations soon will be out of luck if they try to travel using a driver’s license as ID.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, driver’s licenses from these four states and Samoa do not comply with the minimum standards of the federal Real ID system.
The system was created by an act of Congress following recommendations from the 9/11 Commission that the Federal Government should “set standards of the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” DHS will begin enforcing its final phase, allowing only travelers from compliant states to use their driver’s licenses as ID for domestic air travel, and cruise travel originating from the US to be implemented by the year 2016. New York and Minnesota had obtained a federal extension for implementing the Real ID system, but that extension will expire on Jan. 19, 2016.
The Act requires that all state IDs issued for those persons born after Dec. 1, 1964, comply with the REAL ID system, under which the issuing state’s DMV records must include social security numbers, photographs, and home addresses of drivers. While New York does offer enhanced licenses, which the state believes makes it compliant with the law, it does not require that its residents get one. According to a story in today’s issue of Newsday, in New York, 11.5 million driver licenses are active in the state, and only 800,000—or just 6.9% of them —are enhanced versions.
New Hampshire residents also face problems with the Act, as state law there does not require the DMV to store social security numbers. Meanwhile, New Hampshire law also doesn’t require a photograph to be stored at the DMV or a home address be printed on the license, two things that the Real ID law requires. In Louisiana, though the state’s House of Representatives voted to adopt federal REAL ID regulations, Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed legislation in June, 2014, citing issues with state versus federal rights as the reason. The same problem came up when Minnesota tried to pass laws requiring REAL IDs last April. Besides the extra cost of obtaining an enhanced license, there are also privacy concerns over the Real ID requirements. Douglas Kidd, the executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers, told Newsday that while his organization understands the need for extra security “whether the Real ID and the additional personal data associated with it actually provides any real security remains to be seen.” Debates and security concerns notwithstanding—and especially with the waiting periods for passports already getting longer—travel agents and cruise consultants and the traveling public can help themselves and their customers by reminding them that citizens from these four states who were born after Dec. 1, 1964, will soon no longer be able to board a domestic flight or cruiseship without a valid passport period. So the sooner they get in line, the better.
Just thought you might like to know this and be able to share with your customers, family, and friends who might be affected by these travel restrictions.
It’s a jungle out here!!