New Passport Rules for Domestic Travel

People who have renewed a driver’s license recently probably know about the REAL ID. It’s a new type of photo identification, and it will soon be required for travelers to board commercial aircrafts, even for domestic travel.

The REAL ID came out of the REAL ID Act of 2005, which “established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.” The act was passed by the U.S. Congress in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States to improve aircraft security. It has been phased in slowly since then; the REAL ID requirement is the final stage of its implementation.

The slow implementation, while necessary, has led to confusion among some travelers. We’ve provided information here to help answer questions travelers may have.

  • The REAL ID Act requires that a chip that holds biometric and biographic data be included in state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards.
  • Many people first learned of the REAL ID requirement late last year, when many media outlets reported that it was going to be required to board domestic flights as of October 10, 2017. However, because more than 20 U.S. states and territories had not developed a compliant REAL ID, a “grace period” was extended to those states that ended on January 22, 2018.
  • Since January of this year, travelers who live in a state that is compliant with REAL ID regulations are supposed to use a REAL ID to get through TSA screening for a domestic flight. If a traveler does not have a REAL ID, he or she must show their driver’s license along with a passport, permanent resident (green) card or a military ID. The same rule applies for passengers from states that are not yet compliant with the REAL ID Act. To see a list of REAL ID-compliant states, click here.
  • In addition to REAL IDs, five states also offer “enhanced IDs” which will meet REAL ID requirements. These states – Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington – each border Canada, which also has an enhanced driver’s license program.
  • Starting Oct. 11, 2020, all travelers will be required to show a state-issued REAL ID or other valid identification to take a domestic flight. Check the TSA’s website for a full list of acceptable identification documents.
  • The REAL ID Act does not require children under 18 to have identification if they are traveling with a companion within the United States who has a REAL ID.

It’s worth noting that a REAL ID is also required for visitors who want to enter a military base and most federal facilities.

How SentinelMED Can Help with Air Medical Transport Services

The new rules for domestic travel are confusing, with the changes in deadlines and the fact that some starts have not yet adopted a REAL ID that meets federal regulations. The team at SentinelMED stays current on changes in laws that affect domestic and international air travel, including the REAL ID Act. As a medical transport, medical repatriation and medical escort company, SentinelMED helps patients navigate the complexities of long-distance travel both internationally and domestically.

SentinelMED’s services include working with hospital case managers, patients and their families to arrange door-to-door transportation for patients who are sick, injured, or elderly, or who can otherwise not travel without assistance. In many cases, the SentinelMED trained medial escorts travel with patients on commercial airlines, providing medical care during each stage of the transport process. This mode of patient transport can be a cost-effective alternative to costly air ambulance services.

The SentinelMED team has decades of experience in U.S. military aerospace and civilian travel medicine. We understand the complexity of delivering exceptional care to patients who need assistance during travel. Please contact us to learn more about the services that SentinelMED offers or its staff.

Comments are closed.