Submitted by Public Health and Social Services
Are Thurston County residents ready to fly? Whether you hop on planes every other week, or only fly once in a blue moon, there are some traveling changes coming to Washington State. You may need to get an original copy of your birth certificate in order to update your other documents. In particular, starting in October 2020, your driver’s license will no longer be enough to get you on an airplane—even for domestic out-of-state flights. Instead, you’ll need an enhanced driver’s license or a passport. While many states have already implemented this change, Washington State has an extended enforcement deadline from fall of 2018 to October 2020.
According to the Washington State Governor’s office, these new identification requirements are, “part of the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. Currently, Washington state residents can obtain a standard driver’s license or ID, or an enhanced driver’s license or ID.”
Most people have a “standard” driver’s license, which only requires proof of identity and residence—but these licenses will be marked as “non-compliant” starting in July of 2018. Once October 2020 rolls around, the standard license will not be enough to fly. An enhanced license will allow you to travel domestically, but is more expensive, and getting it will require you to show proof of identity, residence, and proof of citizenship.
If you choose not to get an enhanced driver’s license, there are still some documents you could use that would allow you to get on a plane. According to the Governor’s office, these include:
- S. passport or passport card
- Military ID
- Green card
- Homeland Security-issued trusted traveler card
- Foreign government issued passport
- Border crossing card
- Airline or airport ID issued under a TSA-approved security plan
- Federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID
- Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 Personal Identity Verification card
Any international travel by air will require a passport. Citizens can generally get their U.S. passport at a local post office, courthouse, or library. To obtain a U.S. passport can take some time. Visit the State Department’s “Where to Apply” link for more details.
Whether you’re getting a passport, or an enhanced license, you will need to have an original birth certificate. Details on how to order your birth certificate is available at Thurston County Health and Social Services vital records, or from the Washington Department of Health Vital Records department. If you were born outside of Washington and need a birth certificate, visit USA.gov for information on how to order a certificate.
Featured photo credit: Chris Hamilton