Starting sometime in 2016, residents of Minnesota, the U.S. territory American Samoa, and possibly other states may not be able to use their driver’s licenses as identification to fly domestically. I live in Minnesota, and I fly a lot, so this issue is a concern. Apparently the difficulty is that in 2009 Minnesota passed its own law prohibiting the state from complying with federal Real ID Act requirements. The Minnesota law was not a good idea, since it has led to the current impasse. As of November 12, 2015, Minnesota and American Samoa are the only two jurisdictions that have not complied with federal requirements or received an extension.
The Real ID Act has two basic requirements:
- Establishes minimum standards for the production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and authorizes grants to assist states in implementing the requirements;
- Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official uses driver’s licenses and identity cards from states unless the Department of Homeland Security determines that the state meets the standards. Official uses are defined as accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding federally-regulated commercial aircraft.
Apparently, Minnesota fails somewhere in the minimum standards for production and issuance of state-issued driver’s licenses.
If something doesn’t change, Minnesota’s airports will be Real Chaos when the federal government decides to enforce Real ID requirements. It’s time for the state to gets its act together.
See REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver’s licenses about to get real, Will Minnesotans really need a new ID to fly by 2016?, and Minnesota driver’s licenses soon might not be valid for airport security for more details.