Yes, You Can Fly with Your Missouri or Illinois ID — for Now

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Lambert-St. Louis International Airport - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/MATTHEW HURST
  • Photo courtesy of Flickr/Matthew Hurst
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

No, you won't need a passport to fly commercially if you're a Missouri resident — not yet, anyway.

The federal government is apparently backing down ... or perhaps just slowing down ... its plans to force states including Missouri and Illinois onto the Real ID bandwagon. A new blog post, published by the Department of Homeland Security today, makes it clear that state-issued IDs won't become a problem for travelers for at least another 120 days.

According to the agency's post,

DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for REAL ID enforcement at airports and will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice — at least 120 days — before any changes are made that might affect their travel. If traveling by air, residents from ANY state are still able to use a driver’s license, or any of the various other forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry cards, U.S. military IDs, airline or airport-issued IDs, federally recognized, and tribal-issued photo IDs. See the full list on the TSA website.)

Previously, news reports had indicated that Missouri's window to comply with new federal requirements was closing on January 4 — and after that, any air travel might be jeopardy. Apparently, however, the federal government has since rethought its plan to majorly inconvenience a whole bunch of innocent residents.

That said, Missouri pols have definitely picked a fight with the federal government over this one. It's not a matter of needing more time to comply with the post-9/11 federal rules for driver's licenses — it's a matter of disagreeing with them and actively refusing to cooperate. The New York Times has an excellent overview for anyone seeking more of the back story.

For the rest of you, well, go ahead and book that flight. At least until the end of April, you'll be good to go even sans passport.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com


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