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Alaska has 2 years to change IDs before air travel restrictions

  • Author: Suzanna Caldwell
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published January 8, 2016

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a timeline on when states -- including Alaska -- must come into compliance with the Real ID Act or face travel restrictions.

States without compliant identification cards will have until Jan. 22, 2018, to either have the required ID card or an extension from the federal government showing the state has made adequate progress toward coming into compliance with the law. If the state is not in compliance or is not granted an extension, people would then have to present alternative identification -- like a passport -- to board commercial airlines or enter federal facilities.

The department also announced that all states must be in full compliance with the law by Oct. 1, 2020.

While the law is designed to strengthen national security, some states have pushed back against it, citing privacy concerns. Only about half of all states are fully compliant with the federal law.

Alaska was granted a Real ID Act extension through Oct. 10, 2016. If the state doesn't get another extension by 2018, travelers would then need Real ID-compliant identification to board a plane. Even if extensions were granted, the state would need to be in full compliance with the law by 2020.

The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles said some progress has been made on Real ID Act implementation since it was enacted in 2004. However, a 2008 law passed by the Legislature prohibits state funds being spent on implementing the law.

The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security also indicates when the Transportation Security Administration would begin Web-based outreach on the act starting this summer. In December, TSA will also expand outreach to airports with signs, handouts and other methods.