Your Arizona ID Won’t Get You on a Airplane


I got a one day temp job through an ad on Craigslist. My job was to help a fellow sell his sterling silver jewelry at a St. Patrick’s Day festival.

At the business owner’s direction, I was asking buyers to show me their ID before swiping their credit cards. When I asked one woman from Arizona to see her ID, she went on a rant about how at the first of next year Arizona driver’s licenses weren’t going to be considered federal ID, and she wouldn’t be able to use it to get on an airplane. I had no idea what she was talking about and just kind of smiled and nodded while thinking she must be paranoid and a little crazy.

Nope. Turns out she’s right. I did a little research, and found some interesting information.

I did not take this photo.

According to,

In 2016, your Arizona driver’s license won’t get you through the security checkpoint at the airport or into federal buildings that require a so-called “Real ID.”

Last year, more than 740,000 driver licenses were issued in MVD offices, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation [ADOT]. Those numbers keep growing every day and none of the cards meet federal requirements.

The new version of the Arizona driver’s license was issued last year on June 16 but even that one isn’t up to par.

After 9/11, the Feds put together a list of 31 things states need to do to make their driver’s licenses more secure. It’s called Real ID.

Arizona is among a handful of other states, such as Louisiana and Maine, that do not have licenses that comply. In fact, ADOT is prohibited from issuing a license that meets Real ID requirements because of current state law.

“Arizona got nervous that this was going to be a mandatory national ID card and people would be looking at meta data and all these things we sometimes worry about,” Senator Bob Worsley said. “So our state went the other direction, instead of doing it we said ‘We ban MVD in Arizona from implementing Real ID. We don’t want to do it. We don’t want to be mandated by the federal government to have these new cards.'”

But Worsley says that decision is catching up with us.

“They’ve already started to restrict Arizona driver’s licenses going into federal buildings of certain security,” he said.

If changes aren’t made by as early as January of 2016, it would mean Arizona passengers would have to show another form of identification recognized by the Department of Homeland Security, such as a passport or Permanent Residency Card.

Worsley is working against the clock with his Bill 1273 to make it possible for Arizonans to get a federally approved card before the January 1st deadline.

Bill 1273 would make it possible for the MVD to issue Real ID cards to Arizona residents who want them.

“Let’s just let people who want it, go down and be able to get it,” Worsley said.

The Real ID Act requires drivers to update their photo on their license every eight years. It also requires states to get certain documentation and take extra steps to verify the license holder is in the country legally.

And it will cost you about $15. The MVD will decide the final cost. But if you keep the current one in your pocket, it may cost you more.

“My passport was like 3 or 4 weeks and $300,” Worsley said. “So if you’re making Arizona citizens go get passport to fly to Salt Lake or Denver or El Paso, I think we’re going to have people pretty upset.”

Another big benefit — the Real ID card will make it harder for fraudsters to get a fake.

(You can find another news story with much the same information here:

Here’s a follow-up article about Real ID and Arizona driver’s licenses:

Following last week’s revelations that Arizona is among a handful of other states, such as Louisiana and Maine, with driver’s license which do not comply with federal “Real ID” standards, many are asking if their licenses are okay.

The Real ID Act sets standards for identification used for boarding planes and entering federal buildings, among other things, which states must meet by the end of 2015. One of the fears is Arizona residents might have to present passports to fly domestically.

One of the Real ID requirements Arizona licenses currently don’t meet is that photos must be updated at least every eight years [as opposed to the current requirement in Arizona of an updated driver’s license photo every twelve years].

In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know:

*Presently, everyone with an Arizona driver’s license risks travel and other restrictions if the state does not comply with Real ID by Dec. 31, 2015.

*The current Arizona driver’s license may not be a good form of ID to get you in some federal buildings now.

*Arizona Senate Bill 1273 would bring Arizona driver’s licenses into compliance with federal Real ID rules.

*The bill is awaiting a hearing before the full Arizona Senate. If passed, it moves to the House.

*Even licenses issued since a new license was approved by the Arizona legislature in 2013 do not comply. All Arizona driver’s license holders are at risk if Arizona doesn’t start issuing new licenses which comply with Real ID.

(The only articles I found about Real ID and Louisiana driver’s licenses were nearly a year old.)

I just looked at my driver’s license, and although it is from neither Arizona nor Louisiana (and not from Maine either), it does not have a star in the upper right hand corner. Maybe I need to get a passport.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I’ve never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again.

I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist.

Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it.

I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk.

This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

3 Responses »

  1. How did they get a passport photo of your then seven day old granddaughter? Is one of her parents in the photo too, holding her?

    I did have a passport at one time, but I lost it. And I’ve never had the opportunity to go out of the country again, so I never got a new one. I should get one. I looked at my license, and it does not have the star in the corner that marks it as Real ID acceptable. I guess it’s too old. What if someone invites me on a fabulous free trip next year and my license isn’t enough to get me on the airplane? What if I need to go to Algodones next year (or next month or next week) for more dental work? Yes, I’ll add passport to my list of things with which I need to deal.

  2. Actually she has 2 passports (US & German). While her mother is holding her, you can’t see mom. The Pictures were taken at each appropriate office. The US accepted a screaming shot. The Germans would not. It took a while. You can go to your local Social Security office to find out about accepted IDs. Expect hassles, be patient. Lv M

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