SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaskans May Need U.S. Passports for Domestic Air Travel


April 05, 2017
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Starting June 6, Alaskans who work or live on U.S. military bases will not be able to gain unescorted entry using their Alaska driver’s licenses or any other form of state identification—if the legislature does not pass bills to ensure Alaska’s compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. Also, starting January, Alaskans will need a U.S. passport or other REAL ID Act-compliant forms of identification for domestic travel.

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In 2005, Congress enacted the REAL ID Act requiring states to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs. The Act prohibited federal agencies from accepting any license or identification card from states that do not meet these standards.

“Alaskans who want to visit family, attend a funeral or take a vacation will need a passport or federally approved form of identification to fly - even within Alaska and the rest of the United States - unless our state complies with federal REAL ID Act requirements,” Governor Walker said.

Walker said, “As it stands, residents in five non-compliant states are already being forced to use different forms of identification. Alaska should not be added to that list. For many, passports can be difficult and expensive to get.  This legislation provides a cost-effective and flexible approach, giving Alaskans the option to get REAL ID-compliant licenses at a local DMV.”

Alaska is not complying with the REAL ID Act. In 2008, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill barring the State of Alaska from spending any state funds to comply with the REAL ID Act.

In less than three months, Alaska’s extension from complying with the REAL ID Act expires. The REAL ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005, requires states to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and other forms of identification.  In 2008, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill barring the state from spending any funds to comply. 

It will cost Alaska $1.5 million to enact the law. Alaskans who want a Real ID will be charged $5 extra to help cover the costs.

After January 22, 2018, Alaskans will need an alternate form of identification, like a passport, to go through Transportation Security Administration security for air travel - unless state laws are changed.

However, on October 1, 2020, all Alaskans will need a REAL ID card to pass through airport security to fly.

Governor Walker introduced House Bill 74 and Senate Bill 34 to provide Alaskans with the option to get REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s licenses. Under this bill, Alaskans will have a choice whether or not they want to obtain identification that meets REAL ID Act standards.


Reporting and Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of the Governor



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