If you don’t hold a passport now’s a good time to consider applying for one. According to today’s AOL News the US Transportation Security Administration is talking about rejecting driver’s licenses,that many travelers use, as a vaild ID option. Driver’s licenses from some states might not be enough to get through a security checkpoint at an airport because of the 10-year-old REAL ID Act which was designed to increase security standards for identification following the 9/11 attacks.
The AOL article pointed out that 27 states are currently exempt from those standards until certain times in 2016. But if you live in Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington you just might need a passport. In some cases a driver’s license might be acceptable but will come with extra security measures. AOL said David Druker, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State made this statement, “They may have to go through an extra measure of security that might be another line, or possibly being questioned at the airport.” If you don’t have your driver’s license or any other REAL ID-compliant form of ID, you might still be able to get on your flight, but not before having to fill out a form and answer a few questions, which might be worse than a surprise pat-down. Travelers will get at least 12 days notice before any changes are implemented that might affect their trips.
According to the Homeland Security web site,the Transportation Security Administration currently accepts other forms of identity documents such as a passport or Permanent Residency Card and will continue to do so and says that real ID does not apply to the following:
- Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
- Voting or registering to vote
- Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
- Being licensed by a state to drive
- Accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
- Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations
This latest development comes on the heels of an earlier announcement by TSA that they can now force any traveler to go through a full body scanner at the airport. Until now passengers were allowed to decline the scan for a hand search. The reason for the new rule is that unlike metal detectors, full-body scanners can detect non-metal objects, which became an increasing concern after various airliner bombing attempts in the 2000s.
According to eturbonews, a full-body scanner is a device that detects objects on a person’s body for security screening purposes, without physically removing clothes or making physical contact. Generally, this is generated by creating a detailed image of the person’s naked body and any non-clothing artifacts on their person. Depending on the specific technology, the operator may see an alternate-wavelength image of the person’s naked body, or merely a cartoon-like representation of the person with an indicator showing where any suspicious items were detected.
Got questions? Send them to the DHS Office of State Issued Identification Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.