Notice the New 'ID Requirements are Changing' Signs at MSP? Here's The Whole Story

December 22, 2016 05:23 AM

You may have noticed new signs at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, saying "ID requirements are changing."

"Um, I have no idea how that's going to affect me," one traveler said after noticing the warning. As it turned out, most travelers said the same thing.

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Here's the deal: the Real ID Act passed in 2005. It established minimum security standards for state issued driver's licenses. At this point, only nine states don't have licenses that meet those standards, and Minnesota is one of them. Now, as the signs say, the Transportation Security Administration will start enforcing the regulations at airports come January of 2018.

But there is more to the story. You may not realize it, but as it stands now, there is actually a way to get through security without an ID. However, if you have a Minnesota driver's license, that could be changing.

The TSA runs what's called the Identity Verification Call Center, or the IVCC. It's used in situations like when someone's ID gets lost or stolen and they still need to board a flight. The passenger fills out a questionnaire and then the TSA runs a background check. If they can prove you are who you say you are, you can board the plane with or without an ID.

Now though, that's changing, at least for Minnesotans. The TSA recently made an announcement in the Federal Register, which says come 2018 the IVCC will no longer be available for people whose only form of ID comes from a non-compliant state.

Here's why: the IVCC currently fields about 400 calls per day. The concern is that call volume will spike, possibly into the tens of thousands per day, if the center's small staff has to verify people's ID's from non-compliant states. 

What it means for you -- assuming you have a Minnesota license -- is you'll have to have a passport or an enhanced driver's license if you want to fly in 2018, there will be no other option, and therein lies the problem.

"It's kind of a perfect storm," said Keeping IDentities Safe Policy Director Andrew Meehan. He noted there's already expected to be a surge of passport renewals in 2017, meaning Minnesotans in need could fall to the back of the line.

"With all of the passport renewals, with a limited amount of time before the 2018 deadline, the number of options that Minnesotans have is shrinking," he explained.

One thing to add: the TSA tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that if you're a Minnesotan but do have a passport or an enhanced driver's license, even if you forget it, they will still let you use the IVCC. You're only locked out if a standard Minnesota driver's license is the only form of identification you have.


Josh Rosenthal

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