December 19, 2017

New Domestic U.S. Air Travel Identification Requirement and Impact on Travelers

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New Domestic U.S. Air Travel Identification Requirement and Impact on Travelers

Posted by: Fabiana Hershfield, Supply Chain Manager

Beginning January 22, 2018, air travelers in the United States must show identification that complies with the document security requirements of the REAL ID Act. If you use a state-issued driver's license or identification card when traveling domestically:

  • The state of issuance must meet REAL ID requirements or have received an extension; and you may use your state-issued identification to board a U.S. domestic flight.
  • You must present an alternative form of identification, such as a valid passport or other acceptable documentation, to board a U.S. domestic flight, if your state is under review.

Other acceptable forms of identification

If your state has not met REAL ID requirements or received an extension, the Transportation Security Administration will accept the following documents, among others:

  • An unexpired U.S. or foreign passport;
  • A DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST);
  • A USCIS Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
  • A U.S. lawful permanent resident card (green card); or
  • An enhanced driver's license (EDL) (even if your state is not otherwise compliant with REAL ID).

Looking ahead

By October 1, 2020, all U.S. states will be required to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and state identification documents. All U.S. domestic air travelers will be required to use a REAL ID-compliant document by that deadline.

Fragomen is closely following this subject and will issue further client alerts as developments occur.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide.

Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers

  • Please check the REAL ID Act compliance status of your state using the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded map prior to your U.S. domestic air travel.
  • If your state has not met REAL ID requirements or received an extension, please carefully review the additional acceptable documents under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) page.  The link is
  • If traveling with family, your 18 and over adult dependent must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.
  • For additional information regarding the Real ID Act, please click on this link

Should you require any further information about this or any other aspect of visa/immigration planning, please seek specialist advice from your immigration provider.

Picture of Fabiana  Hershfield

Posted By

Fabiana Hershfield

About Fabiana

Fabiana has 20 years of experience in international assignment services, immigration case processing, and global supply chain management. She has also worked for multinational immigration law firms, serving them as Global Case Manager for a vast corporate client portfolio.

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