Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Real Deal on REAL ID

I live in Kentucky and I keep hearing that I may need a passport for domestic flights in 2018.  Is this true?

Well, good news!  Kentucky has received ANOTHER extension and we now have until October 2018 before we must be REAL ID compliant.

With that said, I always recommend having a valid passport book in hand.  The passport books are not that expensive when you breakdown the cost of the passport book over the life cycle of the passport.  And, who wouldn't want to be able say YES when you see a great value on a trip out of the USA?

You will see that I have bolded the word book.  I'm pretty passionate about the passport book vs. the passport card.  The passport card is not valid for flights outside of the USA.  If you are going to the trouble and expense of getting a passport, get the passport book.

Christi McGown owner of Happy Place Travel and Brandi Duvall Warren County Circuit Clerk
Recently, I had the chance to meet with Brandi Duvall our Warren County Circuit Clerk.  The REAL ID requirements have a major impact on her office and her team of employees.

On October 10, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security issued another extension to the State of Kentucky in meeting the REAL ID requirements.  With that extension, the state now has until October 2018 to become REAL ID compliant.

Why was the REAL ID enacted in 2005?  The REAL ID act is one result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The terrorists on the planes used state issued identification cards in order to board the planes.  As a result of this, it became apparent that tighter controls were needed to screen the issuing of identification cards across all states.

Why is it that Kentucky is not already REAL ID compliant?  
Kentucky is the only state where the Judicial Branch of our government issues the identification cards.  Typically, states have a Department of Motor Vehicles office through their Executive Branch of state government.

In Kentucky, we have 120 counties.  Did you know that each county distributes drivers licenses?  And, some counties issue them from multiple locations.  Also, did you know that most states do not distribute drivers license in each county?  I learned that Kentucky is a bit unusual in the distribution of drivers licenses. 

Converting to the REAL ID requirements is a bit more challenging for a state such as Kentucky.  We have to centralize the ability for all 120 counties with a total of 144 issuing locations to print drivers licenses.  To do this takes time.

The process we have now works well.  Why do we need to centralize the distribution of drivers licenses in Kentucky?
Security.  One centralized system of distribution is much more secure than 144 distribution outlets across the state.  Starting January 2019, the Transportation Cabinet will be taking over the responsibility of printing drivers licenses for the State of Kentucky.

What will the new process look like?
You will still visit the Circuit Court to apply for your license.  At their office, you will be issued a paper identification.  Your official drivers license will be sent to you from the centralized printing area and will reach you in 5-7 days via mail.
Best Mother's Day Gift Ever?
Brandi's family purchased billboard space to help communicate the website that she developed to keep all citizens of Warren County, KY in the know about the REAL ID requirements and timeline.
New ID types are coming with the REAL ID act.  You will have an option of the Standard ID or the Enhanced ID.  What's the difference you ask?

Enhanced ID:  This ID will carry a special feature that shows it is verified by the State of Kentucky.  The Enhanced ID will be valid for 8 years.  This is the ID version that you will need in order to have your ID be valid for domestic flights.

Standard ID:  The Standard ID has not been verified by the State of Kentucky.  This version will NOT be valid as your ID for flights.

Be sure to check out Brandi's website: for all of the latest REAL ID updates.  Only 3 counties in Kentucky have a website dedicated to updating their citizens on the REAL ID program.  We are thankful that Warren County is one of the three counties taking such proactive communication measures!

Christi McGown
Happy Place Travel
661 31W By Pass Suite C
Bowling Green, KY  42101

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