TSA will accept Washington licenses for two more years

SEATTLE – Washington state residents will have two more years to use their standard driver's licenses to get through airport security before those cards are no longer compliant with federal standards. The two-year extension is meant to give states a final chance to meet those rules.

The Department of Homeland Security and TSA announced Friday a final deadline of January 22, 2018, for all states to comply with federal requirements under the REAL ID Act.

There was concern the TSA would no longer accept Washington state licenses and identification cards this year, even for domestic flights. Some were concerned they would have to scramble to get a Washington enhanced driver's license or a passport. This extension eliminates that concern.

Six states and territories currently do not meet the REAL ID requirements: Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and American Samoa.

To bring Washington driver's licenses in compliance with federal standards would require a change in state law. The Legislative session begins Monday.

If Washington does not come into compliance by the deadline, residents will need a passport or other approved form of ID to get through airport security.

Washington already offers enhanced driver's licenses, costing more than standard licenses, which are REAL ID compliant. Many residents who regularly travel to Canada have chosen the enhanced license already.

Advisories will increase online and at airports starting in July warning passengers about the impending deadline.

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