Real ID: Will you need a passport to fly to U.S. destinations?

MAYFIELD, KY – If you plan on getting on a plane to see family or take a vacation somewhere in the United States next year, you may have to get a passport first.

The Department of Homeland Security will begin enforcing the Real ID Act in January 2018. That means some driver’s licenses won’t be enough to get on domestic flights.

Driver’s licenses in Kentucky are still not compliant with new regulations. The state will begin issuing travel IDs January 2019, and the state was recently given an extension through October 2018.

Tennessee’s driver’s licenses are compliant.

Illinois’ and Missouri’s extension statuses are both still pending.

Without an extension or compliance in your state, you’ll have to provide alternate identification other than your license to board a plane or set foot onto a federal military base.

Without this extension, it could costs students at Mayfield High School money. Each year Sarah Burks, a co-enrinchment coordinator for the district, plans a trip for 45 middle and high school students. Because many of them are seniors, they’d be turning 18 prior to their March trip.

This would mean they’d have to have a passport, in addition to paying for the air fare, lodging, and food.

This could have prevented some from getting to go. Burk is relieved, adding “The travel is huge. A lot of them have never been anywhere. So, it doesn’t matter where we go, just the travel experience is huge.” “We’ve been to New York, San Francisco, [Washington] DC, New Orleans, San Diego, the Grand Canyon, and San Antonio.”

To Burks, they’re not miniature vacations. She thinks the museums, restaurants, and sights are learning opportunities because “a lot of them have never been anywhere; the travel is huge.”

That includes the airport process of checking bags and going through security. Eliminating flying from their itinerary wouldn’t just limit their learning, but their destinations, according to Burks. “It would definitely limit our options because we’d either have to make sure they had their passports or take a bus trip,” she said.

The travel ID will be $5 more than a regular ID in January 2019. It will be optional to purchase.