10

I am a resident of Pennsylvania (I have a PA drivers license) and I do not have my passport. I am taking a flight from Ohio to California in March. Do I need my passport for this flight? (Or for the return flight)

The REAL ID law is the issue. I know PA is late to the game in their real ID licenses, so there was supposedly a law that until we get those, we would need a passport to fly domestically. But I’ve also heard that the law was postponed so I’m not sure what the current status is.

  • 2
    @brhans the question is reasonable given the confusion that abounds around the confusing Real ID requirements for identification, which also apply to domestic travel. – phoog Jan 23 '19 at 19:36
  • 1
    Yes, the real ID is the issue. I know PA is late to the game in their real ID licenses, so there was supposedly a law that until we get those, we would need a passport to fly domestically. But I’ve also heard that the law was postponed so I’m not sure what the current status is. – Jon F Jan 23 '19 at 19:47
  • 1
    Fun fact - most state issued CCW permits are REAL ID compliant. Plan on extra time going through security/boarding if that is the only ID you have though :) – ivanivan Jan 24 '19 at 0:37
  • @ivanivan Real ID concerns only driver's licenses and DMV-issued ID cards, so a concealed carry weapons permit is compliant in the same sense in which a library card is compliant. The extra agreement is necessary because weapons permits are explicitly excluded from the list of acceptable ID ("A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification"). This puts them in the same category as credit cards and school IDs. – phoog Jan 24 '19 at 13:37
  • Oops, "extra agreement" in the previous comment should be "extra screening." Blasted autocorrect. – phoog Jan 24 '19 at 16:26
12

Update March 27, 2020:

To reduce the need for people to go to DMV offices during the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline of October 1, 2020 has been postponed until October 1, 2021. Thanks to choster for linking to an initial report by Bloomberg News.

Several news organizations have been reporting the new deadline at least since yesterday evening. An official press release from the acting Secretary of Homeland Security is dated yesterday, March 26 2020.

The page quoted below has now been updated, as have the quotes themselves. I've also adjusted the answer to account for the fact that Pennsylvania is now compliant with Real ID rather than being on an extension.


Have a look at https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs:

Q: When will I need to change how I travel domestically?

Beginning October 1, 2021 every state and territory resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID, or another acceptable form of identification, for accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and boarding commercial aircraft. The card, itself, must be REAL ID compliant unless the resident is using an alternative acceptable document such as a passport or passport card, or state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License. The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).

You can use a Pennsylvania-issued document (license or ID card), even if the document is not compliant, through September 30, 2021. After that, you'd need a compliant document or one issued by the federal government (for example, a passport or passport card).

Is Pennsylvania compliant? Does it have an extension? See the main Real ID page at https://www.dhs.gov/real-id, which shows a map indicating that Pennsylvania is compliant. You can choose Pennsylvania in the "select a state" box below the map to see the details:

Pennsylvania is compliant with the REAL ID Act. Federal agencies can accept driver's licenses and identification cards from Pennsylvania at Federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

On or after October 1, 2021, you'll need a Real-ID-compliant driver's license or your passport (or another document from the TSA list, if you have one).

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    Every single state is currently either compliant or has an extension, so I'm not sure if checking the map is at all useful :) – JonathanReez Jan 23 '19 at 21:03
  • @JonathanReez it's useful if you want to know whether a given state's documents will be accepted through the end of next September. For states with extensions (including Pennsylvania), you have to look at when the extension expires, and you have to check again around that time to see how the state's status has changed. – phoog Jan 23 '19 at 21:05
3

No, but soon you will need to update your drivers license to a READ ID compliant one

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020 2021, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.

Pennsylvania does have a REAL ID drivers license. Your passport is also an acceptable REAL ID identification, but it is not required for domestic flights.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.