U.S. Government Expected to Extend REAL ID Compliance Deadlines

by Richard D'Ambrosio
U.S. Government Expected to Extend REAL ID Compliance Deadlines

U.S travelers living in states that do not comply likely will not need their passports to travel domestically starting January 22. Photo: Shutterstock

 

When Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, the prospect of a vast swath of U.S. travelers not being able to board planes by February 2018 because their driver’s license was determined not a compliant form of identification seemed highly unlikely.

But as the Act’s Jan. 22, 2018, deadline neared, more and more travel agents and travelers began to worry that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would implement identification restrictions that would have forced airline passengers to seek other approved forms of ID, like a passport. 

About half of the states in America are not in compliance with the new and stricter federal ID standards. States in full compliance as of Nov. 20, 2017, are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

States granted an extensive until October 2018 are: Alaska, California, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.

American Samoa, Guam, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and the U.S. Virgin Islands are awaiting a review of their extension requests from DHS.

Cautiously optimistic about state extensions
“We are cautiously optimistic that DHS will continue to grant state extensions in short order and that we will not see widespread travel disruptions come January 2018,” said Genevieve Strand, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) manager, government and industry affairs.

Speaking at the Best of the Best conference this past weekend, Travel Impressions President Scott Wiseman said his “sources” are expecting all states will receive an extension before the January 2018 deadline.

An up-to-date, interactive map of the current status of states and territories can be found here.

While ASTA cannot officially confirm that the U.S. government is going to extend every state not currently in compliance, “based on our current understanding of the political landscape and the extension process, we believe there is no cause for concern at this stage and that states will be granted renewed extensions,” Strand said.

“We have heard from our sources at DHS that the Department will work with all states making an effort to comply with the law and that many of the states currently ‘under review’ have not simply asked for extensions but have actually submitted full compliance packages which DHS is in the process of reviewing,” said Strand. “Our advice boils down to this – if our agent’s clients really don’t want to worry about this issue, they should get a passport or passport card, which can always be used as identification.”

According the State Department, Strand said, processing times for routine passport applications are an average of 8.5 business days, while expedited applications take an average of 3.2 business days. September through December is considered “off-peak” time for the passport office, with January through August being “peak season” when passport processing is slower.

“DHS is doing a good job of keeping the website up to date and ASTA is providing regular updates to members,” Strand said, including email updates and multiple member webinars, like the one held jointly with the State Department in September.

“ASTA will continue to monitor the situation and will continue to keep members apprised of any new developments so they are armed with up-to-date information to best serve their clients,” Strand said.

Full enforcement of the REAL ID Act is still set to begin on Oct. 1, 2020. By that deadline, TSA will only accept compliant licenses issued by compliant states, or alternative forms of identification.

  4
  0
Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

Daily Top List

Best Places to Travel for the Spring of 2019

1. Aegean Islands

2. Barcelona

3. Cancun

4. Grand Canyon

5. Keukenhof Gardens

Source: CNN

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=46d9854c-8d33-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
How Tour Operators are Combating Overtourism
How Tour Operators are Combating Overtourism

Off-peak season discounts and itineraries to lesser-known destinations in popular countries are helping to spread out tourist crowds over the course of the year.

Heritage Tours Launches Spotlight Series of ‘Celebrity Life’ Tours
Heritage Tours Launches Spotlight Series of ‘Celebrity Life’ Tours

A specialist in private travel arrangements unleashes its destination management skills on immersive small group tours.

International Women’s Day: Two Tour Operators Striving for Change
International Women’s Day: Two Tour Operators Striving for Change

The initiatives give women who live in challenged regions the training and opportunities to work, make money, and contribute to their local communities.

Globus Family Launches ‘Your Way’ Campaign to Promote Product Synergy
Globus Family Launches ‘Your Way’ Campaign to Promote Product Synergy

The classic tour operator is making it easier to combine its various travel styles and products into a single booking.

Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen
Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen

The veteran vacation packager is now offering all four paddlewheel riverboats of the American Queen Steamboat Company.

African Travel: The Meeting Point between Luxury and Adventure
African Travel: The Meeting Point between Luxury and Adventure

Celebratory travel, sustainability, and ‘sparking joy’ are among the factors driving adventure and luxury travel experiences.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: The Northern Lights of Finland