This month marks a year since a milestone in the adoption of what are effectively internal passports in the United States—a date that went unnoticed by most Americans. Starting last January, only residents of states that signed on to the federal government’s REAL ID scheme were permitted to fly or enter federal buildings using their state ID.
Because every state ultimately surrendered to federal demands and agreed to issue standardized identification (though under a façade of local design and color), the ID cards in your pocket continue to work—at least until the full program kicks in during 2020.
“Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension…will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification,” warned the Department of Homeland Security. “If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.”