Photo ID, Passports, REAL ID: What You Need To Know - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles

WDW Traveling Articles
Being the Ideal Guest
Disney From the Driver's Seat
Flying to Walt Disney World from the West Coast
Four Lessons, One World
Memories & Milestones
On the Road to Walt Disney World
The Auto Train
The Walt Disney World Grand Slam
To Rent or Not To Rent
Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World
Traveling to Walt Disney World with a Friend
Visiting Walt Disney World During The Busy Season
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Transportation
When Does Your Walt Disney Vacation Really Begin?
When to Visit Walt Disney World
WonderWorks

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

Photo ID, Passports, REAL ID: What You Need To Know

by Dave Marx, PassPorter Guidebooks Author
Last modified 2/28/2008
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Traveling  

"Will we need passports to fly to Walt Disney World?" Recent news stories, blogs, and message board postings have raised this surprising possibility. We've sifted through mounds of information so we can clarify the current state of travel ID for both domestic U.S. travel and international travel to and from the U.S.


The short answer is "No, you won't need a passport to go to Walt Disney World." The long answer is ... complicated. Read on.

Domestic Air Travel

The REAL ID Act is a 2005 Federal law intended to enhance the security of photo ID used at Federal facilities. Since "Federal facilities" includes aircraft regulated by the FAA, this law affects all domestic air travel. By May 11, 2008 state-issued photo ID is required to comply with the REAL ID Act or it will not be accepted for air travel, access to Federal buildings, etc. Don't panic! "In compliance" for now only means the state has asked for and received an extension of time to meet those requirements. As of April 2, 2008, every state and U.S. jurisdiction has applied for and receivd extensions. So this means that state-issued photo ID will be accepted for domestic air travel at least until December 31, 2009, when those extensions expire (additional extensions may be granted, although some states probably won't need them). Federally-issued ID already complies with the law, so U.S. Passport Books and Passport Cards can also be used for domestic air travel. (The U.S. Department of State, which issues U.S. passports, now calls traditional passports "Passport Books" to distinguish them from the new "Passport Card.")

International Travel

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a federal law that ultimately will require a valid passport to enter the U.S. by air, land, or sea. The law's requirements have been modified several times over the past few years, but final rules were issued on March 28, 2008, so further changes are unlikely for now:

Air Travel: Since January 23, 2007, a valid passport has been required for all air travel to the U.S. (A Passport Card cannot be used; U.S. citizens need a Passport Book.)

Land & Sea Travel: Since January 31, 2008, U.S. citizens have needed to present either: 1. a passport (Passport Book or Passport Card)

-or-

2. a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) plus proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) for land and sea entry to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. (Passports already were required for re-entry from the rest of the world.) Oral declarations of citizenship are no longer accepted.

June 30, 2009: A valid passport or equivalent (Passport Book, Passport Card, Enhanced Driver's License, NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST) will be required for all land and most sea entry into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda (a passport is already required for sea entry from other parts of the world).

A special exception has been granted to cruise ships on round-trip itineraries departing and returning to the same U.S. port. Adult U.S. and Canadian citizens will be able to continue using a government-issued photo ID plus birth certificate for the forseeable future. Children will only need to present a birth certificate.

PassPorter's Recommendations:

Our first concern is that travelers be prepared for whatever comes their way. We recommend you get a full U.S. passport (Passport Book) as soon as you can, as that is the most universally-acceptable form of travel ID.



U.S. Passport Book -- As far as we're concerned, this is the one ID to have. It's the most universally accepted ID for international and domestic travel. Anything less is a false economy. Get it done, and be prepared for any last-minute travel opportunities that may come your way. April in Paris, or a ski weekend in Whistler, anyone?

Passport Card -- Yes, it's less than half the cost of a regular passport, but it's less than half as useful, too. For example, if you're on a Caribbean cruise and must fly back to the U.S. in an emergency, the Passport Card will not be valid ID (although Customs and Border Protection agents can still grant waivers).

Passport Card as spare ID -- Since the Passport Card is credit card-sized, it can be a useful extra ID to carry at all times (why carry that bulky Passport Book on domestic flights or a visit to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls?). Current U.S. Passport Book holders can get a Passport Card for $20 (apply by mail using form DS-82), and you can also get a Passport Card at the same time you apply for a new or renewed Passport Book for just $20 more.

Enhanced Driver's License -- U.S. state and Canadian provincial governments can issue an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) that has the same international travel privileges as a Passport Card. It also has the same limitations.

Information on U.S. passport applications is available at http://travel.state.gov/passport

Department of Homeland Security REAL ID site: http://www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/programs/ gc_1200062053842.shtm

An analysis of the REAL ID Act is available at the National Conference of State Legislatures: http://www.ncsl.org/standcomm/sctran/ realidsummary05.htm

Now, the Details

Do I have to worry about REAL ID?

All states and U.S. jurisdictions have now requested and received extensions to comply with the REAL ID Act until December 31, 2009 For now, then, you have no worries. Eventually, all drivers in states that comply will have to prove their identity and legal status to motor vehicle agency officials, and that will probably be a chore. This is still some years down the road, though.

When will this really start to kick in? States now have until December 31, 2009 to come into compliance. A second extension can be obtained that will be good until May 10, 2011. However, not everyone will need to have a REAL ID by those deadlines. States will have until December 1, 2014 to issue REAL ID to all those born on or after December 1, 1964, and until December 1, 1017 to issue REAL ID to all those born before December 1, 1964. Expect that all brand-new licenses should be REAL ID-compliant by May 10, 2009/2011, and then renewal licenses will phase-in gradually through 2017. Sometime between now and then, your state should notify you of its requirements, which will include presenting the necessary proofs of identity.

What will I need to obtain a REAL ID-compliant photo ID? REAL ID can only be issued to U.S. citizens, or non-citizens who are legally in the U.S. States have not announced their individual requirements, but at a minimum, all applicants will need to supply proof of their Social Security Number (presumably an actual Social Security card), proof of current address, and proof of citizenship (such as passport or birth certificate), or proof of their status as a legal alien. REAL ID must include a digital photo.

What are the costs of REAL ID? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates it will cost states $4 billion to comply with REAL ID. This estimate assumes that states were already planning to make some of these changes, so those costs weren't counted. DHS originally estimated a cost of $14 billion. The true cost may fall somewhere in between, or be even higher. With 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S., that works out to $20-$70 per license. We can expect to see some sort of temporary or permanent increase in our license fees.

What is the burden on the states? The REAL ID program requires states to confirm the identity and legal status of all license applicants, and states are required to cross-check with all other states to ensure that the person does not have more than one active driver's license.

REAL ID cannot be issued to people in the US illegally, or to people whose religious beliefs do not allow them to be photographed. States that choose to grant licenses to people who do not comply with REAL ID have to color-code and otherwise identify those licenses as non-REAL ID.

States are required to recertify driver identities during the renewal process – they'll spread this process over several years, so your renewals may be business-as-usual for a while yet. Whether new or renewal, if you live in a REAL ID-compliant state you'll need to present the following at some point:

A photo identity document or non-photo document with your full legal name and date of birth (no mention of whether an existing driver's license would qualify).

Documentation showing your date of birth (birth certificate, perhaps passport)

Proof of your social security account number (presumably, a Social Security card), or proof that you're not eligible for a Social Security number.

Documentation with your name and address of principal residence.

No foreign documents can be accepted, except for an official passport.

Proof of U.S. citizenship or status as an alien lawfully in the U.S.

Each state must take (and save) a digital photo of each applicant, even if the application is rejected.

At the least, it looks like you'll need three documents, since passports/birth certificates don't show current address or social security number, and state photo ID doesn't include social security number or proof of citizenship.

Not only must the state inspect this documentation, but it must confirm the validity of that documentation with the issuing agency. States will probably interconnect their motor vehicle computer systems, and U.S. passports will probably have their bar codes scanned and checked with Federal computers. Further, the state must "resolve discrepancies" when a search shows a person with the same Social Security number holds a license or ID in another state (in other words, the states have to actively cooperate to make sure that only one REAL ID exists per person). Expect to surrender your old driver's license when you apply in a new state.

It's expected that states will have major costs expanding and providing the necessary training and security clearances for its driver's licensing staffs, and face major computing system upgrades.

Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL) To add additional complication to the issue, U.S. states and Canadian provinces can offer an optional Enhanced Driver's License. This EDL, designed in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is the equivalent of a Passport Card – usable for land and sea re-entry into the US from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, and recognized as proof of citizenship by other governments in the region. EDLs are also fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. As of April 3, 2008, the state of Washington is the only state or province issuing EDLs.

Important Differences Between Passport Books and Passport Cards: The U.S. Passport Book is the traditional proof-of-citizenship document for U.S. citizens traveling between the U.S. and other countries. It is accepted by all countries that permit visits by U.S. citizens, and can be used to re-enter the U.S. by air, sea, or land, no matter where you've been. A new U.S. adult passport costs $100, and is valid for 10 years.

The Passport Card is a new Federally-issued identity document that can be used to reenter the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. An adult Passport Card costs $45 and is valid for 10 years. The Passport Card is only recognized by a limited number of other countries, and cannot be used to re-enter the U.S. by air. State-issued Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDLs) have the same privileges and limitations as a Passport Card.

Civil Liberties Concerns Some Americans are concerned that these enhanced identity requirements violate traditional liberties, including the freedom to travel freely within the borders of the U.S., and the protection of private information. Some state governernments have voiced these concerns as well, even though they are currently cooperating with the act. It is possible that court challenges to some provisions of the REAL ID Act may affect implementation of the act.

RFID Chips All passports issued today (including Passport Cards and Enhanced Driver's Licenses) include an "RFID chip" – a device that allows Customs and Border Protection agents to "scan" an identity document without touching it. (This is supposed to speed border crossings and accurately identify travelers). According to Federal authorities, the RFID chip carries only a number that is used to call-up the person's passport information from a secure Federal database. It does not carry any kind of personal information that can be "scanned" by unauthorized individuals (they would need access to the government's computers to obtain information about that person). While there appears to be a variety of potential privacy risks to the widespread use of RFID, a discussion of those issues is not possible in this article. International treaties require the adoption of the RFID chip by all participating nations, so for now, international travelers cannot avoid this technology.



About the Author:
Dave Marx is the co-author of PassPorter guidebooks. He's married to his co-author and partner in crime Jennifer and father to Allie and Alexander. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Related Links:


Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 2/28/2008 - Article #180 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS Test PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Planning Your Disney Cruise Voyage
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Get onboard and share your plans and ask your questions about sailing the high seas on the Disney Cruise Line! Forum sponsored by MouseEarVacations.com


Turkey - Kusadasi by chezp -- DCL Photo of the Day (11-22-2014 11:39 AM)
by Jennifer Marx
22 Nov 2014 at 12:40pm
Here's the latest photo of a Disney cruise ship or one of its ports of call from the PassPorter Photo Archive (http://www.passporter.com/photos): ...
(click title above to view replies)

Recent cruisers...
by robbydj13
21 Nov 2014 at 10:39am
What has been the on ship entertainment during you recent cruises? Like the movies they show, or special entertainers? Just curious as we will be...
(click title above to view replies)

Port Excursions in Every Port?
by Asuka
19 Nov 2014 at 4:02pm
Hello everyone! I'm planning for my very first ever cruise. I've been looking at the excursions and found some really cool ones. However, they...
(click title above to view replies)

Alcohol in Checked luggage
by cruising king
17 Nov 2014 at 12:59pm
How do you take alcohal with you for a cruise. MCO has no place to buy it and not sure if it is worth getting a taxi to a liquer store. I am...
(click title above to view replies)

Disney Gift cards
by cruising king
14 Nov 2014 at 7:19am
I have multiple Disney gift cards and was wondering if I could use these for my upcoming cruise (5/15). Can I use these at guest services when I...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 8371

TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.