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Why some travelers will need a passport card for 2018


Everyone knows that you need a boarding pass and driver’s license to pass airport security. It’s always been this way, but next year, some travelers may also need a passport card.

Starting on Jan. 22, 2018, travelers from a handful of states may have to show an alternate ID to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at the airport. This is because the REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005, will go into effect.

Essentially, this act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses (and ID cards), and prohibits the TSA from accepting cards that don’t meet the standards. Several states have requested extensions to become compliant, many of which expired on Oct. 10. New extensions may be granted, but for now, the grace period for states ends on Jan. 22.

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  1. KM

    This is relevant because…

    • AlexO

      Because International Megan’s Law requires some sort of identifying mark on your passport. So now RC’s may possibly receive different treatment when even traveling domestically.

      • Joe

        … and because, at this time, registrants are exempt from receiving a passport card because the government claims it is impossible to accommodate the required identifier on the card. Leaving the registrant having to acquire a (much more expensive) passport book (with an identifier that is designed to eliminate travel for sex tourism – to exotic locations like Kansas or Massachusetts) for national travel.

        Keep up! (@KM)

        • G4Change

          The a**hole judge tossed out the first lawsuit we filed because the law was so new that it wasn’t clear how or if it would affect registrants’ constitutional rights. Well, if this doesn’t make it CRYSTAL F***ING CLEAR that it DOES affect registrants’ rights to travel – even here in the U.S., then I don’t know what the F*** does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Time to file another lawsuit!!!!!

        • bluewall

          so I won’t be able to just get the passport card for domestic travel?
          I just turned in all the paper and paid too…. they going to send back my check?

        • AJ

          Time will tell. State has said they won’t issue, but then again, they’re also supposed to be issuing marked passports. Since the latter doesn’t seem to be happening, perhaps you will get a card. Doesn’t hurt to try!

        • bluewall

          Its been 5 weeks so far….. and nothing

    • Eric Knight

      It is relevant because of the encroachment of liberties in the United States, with a potential push to restrict domestic interstate travel. As registrants are the canary in the mine when it comes to how much liberty is being suppressed, when used in conjunction with IML, this will expose a registrant status on virtually every aspect of travel, and potentially make it easier for the government to identify registrants who may be traveling “without permission.” Of course, the end game is to throw all registrants in jail for the rest of their lives, and this is just one part of it.

  2. American Detained in America

    Who’s with me in expecting that the “passport card” will feature the same identifier that a regular passport will, making the IML even more punitive for us by hindering interstate travel even further than it already is.

    • AJ

      Actually, State Dept. has already published that they will not be issuing passport cards to RCs, as there is no way or place for them to put the Scarlet Letter (ok, I called it that, not them). Of note is the the reason a number of the States dragged their feet was out of fear of it being or becoming a national ID card. But instead of correcting the fear mongering out of DC, the States all put their heads in the sand and hoped it would go away. Side note: minors are not required to have or show ID to fly domestically, and technically, none of us is required to have ID ( But you may want to leave a lot earlier to get through security.

      The big question is, what does knowing who I am at the gate have to do with anything? My bags are screened and x-rayed, and I am screened and scanned. I guess no bad guys ever have access to really good fake IDs and passports, because those sharp TSA peeps will spot it a mile away. Likewise, I guess there are never juveniles who are unhinged or radicalized or some other imbalance. I can be 17y364d old and I’m trusted like no tomorrow; but come tomorrow, I get the stink-eye as a possible terrorist. And let’s remember, it wasn’t lack of showing ID or having fake IDs that got the 9/11 dudes through, it was the horsesh!t security….which still exists today with the Feds running it (in most places).

      2015, TSA fails 95% of the time at dozens of airports:
      2017, TSA at MSP fails 95% of the time:
      I’ll give TSA one thing: they’re consistent. Repeatedly hitting a 95% failure rate is tough to do!

    • Joe

      Not me, as the Government has previously announced that, because they cannot accommodate the identifier required by IML on the card, registrants are exempt from being issued a card.

      To which I say…. your document, your identifier. Fire up Adobe Illustrator and make it happen. This is not Australia, where registrants are denied passports (can you even fathom???). Receiving government issued ID is not a privilege, it is a right. Even if it has a mark on it.

      • David Kennerly, Tamper-Proof Package

        Here is a document about how TSA checks identity at security checkpoints in airports (just before the x-ray and pat-down zone between check-in and gates).

        It wasn’t always clear to me if they are actually pinging a database when you hand them your driver’s license (for domestic flights) or passports (for international) so much as checking them for authenticity. It turns out that they are now running against a database.

        For our purposes, I imagine that that database could also contain Registrant status. But, given that I have never been looked-at crosswise by these TSA agents after they check my ID, I suspect that they do not (yet). It seems to me that they have moved away from only using a UV flashlight for checking the security hologram to a little podium-mounted scanner that connects to a network which would enable this function.

        “Secure Flight data integration into the CAT/BPSS process allows TSA to mitigate
        security vulnerabilities presented by fraudulent passenger identity documents and/or boarding passes. By using trusted data obtained from Secure Flight via the STIP interface, TSA reduces the reliance on airline data and manual processes to validate passenger identity documents and/or boarding passes.

        There’s also this:

        “System of Records Notices (SORNs)
        A system of records is a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifier assigned to the individual. The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish notice of its systems of records in the Federal Register. This notice is generally referred to as a System of Records Notice or SORN.”

        “SORN” is a little too close for comfort to SORNA, isn’t it? 🙂

      • AJ

        The State Department (technically, the Secretary of State) is given broad authority to whom and under what conditions international-travel documents are issued. On top of that, the Passport Card is a courtesy the State Department created and issues so those who don’t need or want a passport can travel within North America (defined as Canada, Bermuda, Mexico, and the Caribbean). Remember, too, that SCOTUS has never explicitly stated one has a right to international travel; they’ve only said one has a right to domestic travel. In short, unfettered travel is not a right. So no, you do not have a right to a passport card, or even a passport.

  3. T

    I think they are just exposing registered citizens because they are easy targets to go after which makes their job easy and make people feel safe which is false, but the real criminals who most are not registrants and haven’t got caught could be anyone even someone we know and admire. Sooner or later the public’s going to learn that passing these SOR laws are useless, and don’t protect their families, because we’ve seen over the years of how very destructive it is has become.

    • Robert

      but they still cant stop you from traveling domestic or to a US Territory, just international so far and the Marshall islands is a territory so thats a good thing same with the US Virgin islands. beach access is still doable. i want to meet my filipino girlfriend in the marshall islands because they can travel there without a visa, just their regular passport

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