With the holidays upon us, many Arizonans are preparing to visit family across the country or take a vacation over winter break. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) new security rules mandated by the 2005 REAL ID Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016. It mandates the use of federally compliant identification credentials to board airplanes, both internationally and domestically, and enter federal facilities. Some may be worried their Arizona driver’s license won’t be accepted as valid identification at airports across the country because Arizona’s licenses won’t be compliant with the new federal guidelines by that date.
Despite all the confusion surrounding the subject, Arizonans can rest easy. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted Arizona an extension because the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division is actively working on developing a Voluntary Travel ID which meets these guidelines. The current extension is good until Oct. 10, 2016. The Voluntary Travel ID will be available in Arizona by April 1, 2016, though the cost for obtaining it has not yet been determined. Nobody is required to obtain a Voluntary Travel or REAL ID; however, once Phase 4 of the REAL ID Act of 2005 takes effect, travelers without a REAL ID will be required to use an alternative form of identification, such as a passport, to board a commercial airplane – even for domestic flights – and to enter federal buildings or military installations.
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has stated that once a state has a REAL ID-compliant credential available, their non-compliant credentials will still be acceptable for use at airports and federal buildings until Oct. 1, 2020. They have also stated that they will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change. That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver’s license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft.
For more information about the Arizona Voluntary Travel ID, visit https://www.azdot.gov/mvd/driver-services/arizona-voluntary-travel-id/faq. For information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see the TSA’s website.
From all of us at Owens & Perkins to you and your family, travel safely and hassle free.We offer ½ hour complimentary consultations. Call us at 480.994.8824 to schedule.