For many of us living in the United States, a valid driver's license is the only piece of identification you need to get past airport security.
If you've been in an airport in the last nine months or so, you may have spotted notices from the Transportation Security Administration about REAL ID act all over.
Apparently, you should really be paying attention to the information contained within them because residents of a few states will have to get new IDs in order to comply with the act.
The act, which was passed over 10 years ago, was put in place to increase security and crack down on identity theft. It has only been in effect in 24 states and the District of Columbia, but starting this upcoming January it will be applied in nine more states.
If you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Washington, your driver's licence will no longer count as a valid ID at the airport starting January 22, 2018.
You will have to use an alternative form of identification like a passport, permanent resident card, or military ID. This means that if you don't already have a passport, you will have to apply for one before the policy comes into effect.
Although you officially have until January to send it your application, it is highly recommended that you start the process now. October and November are the least busiest months for passport applications, according to the U.S. Department of State, so you will be able to get it back within the estimated 4-6 week waiting period.
The Department of Homeland Security is currently working with each state to smooth out any kinks that the change might cause. If everything doesn't proceed as planned, there's a chance that they may grant extensions, but until then it's for the best that you verify if your current piece of ID is compliant or not. You can check the status of your ID on the DHS's website.
Are you affected by this change? Let us know in the comments!