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Notary Notes

DHS Pushes on with Real ID

by PAN
A little over two year ago, in December 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act of 2005. The Act, which met with heavy resistance from the states, established minimum standards for state-issued drivers' licenses and identification cards that federal agencies would accept for official purposes. The fourth phase of the endorcement plan - boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft - was scheduled to begin no sooner than 2016.

On January 8, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the following timetable for the fourth phase of the enforcement plan:
  • Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline below, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards.
  • Starting July 15, 2016, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in coordination with airlines and airport stakeholders, will begin to issue web-based advisories and notifications to the traveling public.
  • Starting December 15, 2016, the TSA will expand outreach at the airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods.
TSA will continue to accept drivers' licenses issued by all states until January 2018 when only licenses from compliant state or noncompliant states with an extension will be accepted.

Effective January 22, 2018, if you have a driver's license or identification card issued by a state that does NOT meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, you will need an alternative form of identification acceptable to TSA in order to board a commercial domestic flight.

Pennsylvania's REAL ID Status

Pennsylvania is a non-compliant state that has been granted an extension. In 2012, Pennsylvania passed Act, 38, which in part states, "Neither the Governor nor the Departmtne of Transportation or any other Commonwealth agency shall participate in the REAL ID Act of 2005 or regulations promulgated thereunder." In October 2015, DHS issued Pennsylvania an additional extension under October 10, 2016. The extension allows citizens of the Commonwealth to continue to use a Pennsylvania driver's license or identification card for federal purposes, including flying on commercial airliners. Pennsylvania would have to be issued further extensions beyond October 10, 2016, for Pennsylvania driver's licenses and identification cards to continue to be acceptable.


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