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Jan 15, 2018

Starting January 22, 2018, the TSA will require that all domestic travelers who don’t have a driver’s license from a Real ID compliant state will need to provide an alternate form of acceptable identification. Some states currently working on becoming compliant have been granted an extension and residents living in those states will be able to travel with their current licenses for the duration of the extension, but after October 10, 2020, all air travelers will be required to have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or alternate acceptable identification to fly domestically.


What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 after the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that the federal government set minimum security standards for how states issue identification and how that identification is used. The act is meant to make sure that a person presenting an ID is actually presenting a valid ID. According to Justine Whelan, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, “The act prevents the production of fake IDs and ensures that all identification that is used has certain features which prevent tampering or are difficult to replicate.” These features include anti-counterfeit technology, such as holograms, which several states already use.


Who is Real ID compliant?

Real ID enforcement has been implemented in phases in some places over the last two years, but currently only 28 states are compliant. With the TSA implementing Real ID requirements before every state is compliant, the Department of State is recommending that residents who live in states that don’t meet the requirements should apply for a passport as soon as possible to avoid any travel inconveniences. Only about 40% of the US population have passports, so waiting periods to receive a new passport when applying could start to get longer.

While having Real ID-compliant identification to board a plane will be the main concern for most people, the new regulations will affect more than just federally regulated commercial aircrafts. It prohibits Federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the minimum standards for certain purposes such as accessing Federal facilities and entering nuclear power plants. 

How will this affect the MICE industry? 

With only 28 states currently compliant and most extensions ending October 10, 2018, companies with meetings and programs already planned in the future where travel is required need to make sure attendees will be able to get there under the new restrictions. Getting this information out to attendees as soon as possible will help make sure everyone has the proper travel identification and will help minimize last minute cancellations due to travel issues.

In the long run, once all states are compliant everything should be back to normal, but until then these restrictions will make planning a program even more time consuming. Making sure attendees can actually travel to events is another task on an already lengthy list. If you are finding you don’t have time in your day to do everything, Thallo’s services can help whittle down your to do’s so that you have more time to focus on the important details. Let us know how we can help you.


To see the most up-to-date status of your state or territory, visit


To see what forms of identification are TSA acceptable, visit

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