If you’re a resident of New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, or American Samoa you’ll need a passport to travel by airplane within the United States as of 2016. The exact date hasn’t been announced yet.

Time.com reports that this new policy is a result of The Real ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005.

Seven years later, the Department of Homeland Security is ready to enforce the legislation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Real ID Act is“a counterterrorism measure to standardize the reliability and efficacy of personal identification.”
  • The driver’s licenses in certain states do not make the cut when it comes to “standard” and “reliable” forms of identification; therefore, to fly domestically, a U.S. passport is necessary.
  • This is because the security features in certain driver’s licenses weren’t enough to verify the form of ID is…well…secure.
  • For instance, the acceptable form of identification needs to provide the immigration status of the individual.
  • The Real ID Act covers 56 jurisdictions, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • The current list of states from which a Federal agency may accept driver’s licenses for an official purpose is found at REAL ID Enforcement In Brief.
  • The Real ID Act creates a federal identity document that every American will need in order to fly on commercial airlines, enter government buildings, and more.

The Department of Motor Vehicles program in some states will be issuing new driver’s licenses and state ID cards that comply with the new law.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that in Minnesota, the state is offering “an enhanced driver's license or ID that does meet the Real ID Act requirement for an additional $15, but only 7,048 Minnesotans have requested those IDs, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.”

Essentially, it seems that the Federal government is attempting to turn state driver’s licenses into genuine national identity cards, all in the name of safety and security.

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the main justification for the “secure” ID cards is to know that the bearer of the ID is actually that person:

REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the Federal Government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Obtaining fraudulent identification documents presents an opportunity for terrorists to board airplanes, rent cars, open bank accounts, or conduct other activities without being detected.

Did you catch what the next steps are? Aside from not being able to board an airplane, you won’t be able to rent a car, open a bank account, or “conduct other activities” without a federally approved form of ID.

Those in favor of The Real ID Act claim it could have stopped the 9/11 terrorists from carrying out their mission. Do you agree with this?

What do you make of The Real ID Act? Sound off below!

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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