The Post-Pandemic World of Travel
By: Robert S Weinroth
With the worst of the pandemic now in our rearview mirror, many of us are ready to pickup where we left off when our lives were put on hold.
With the summer months upon us, many of us are ready to travel on a long delayed vacation or take a trip to see relatives with whom we have had only virtual visits over the past 18 months.
Check with your carrier to determine what protocols are in place to ensure passenger safety. This may mean continued use of face coverings on flights as well as restricted access to snacks and beverages.
In addition to the changes necessitated by the pandemic, you should be aware of changes that have been long planned to make driver’s licenses and state identity cards more secure.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles began issuing modified Driver’s Licenses and ID cards incorporating updated and enhanced security features. The modifications included removal of the magnetic strip on the back of the license, the addition of a tactile security feature and changes to the data and data layout.
Palm Beach County has been issuing the new credentials since July 2019.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has committed itself to ensuring Florida’s credential remains secure. The new credential design incorporates nearly double the fraud protection measures compared to the previous design, including redundant data, ultraviolet (UV) ink and optically variable features. The 2019 modifications included the addition of a tactile security feature.
Additionally, customers are encouraged to check their credential for the gold star in the upper right-hand corner of their credential to verify if they are REAL ID compliant.
If a customer does not see a gold star, they will need to go into a tax collector office to become REAL ID compliant.
For the list of what to documents to bring to become REAL ID compliant, visit flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/what-to-bring/
The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005. The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.
These purposes are:
- Accessing federal facilities
- Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft
- Entering nuclear power plants
The enforcement date for the REAL ID was delayed to May 3, 2023 due to the pandemic.
However, after the enforcement date, federal agencies, including DHS and TSA, will only be authorized to accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as identification for purposes of accessing federal facilities – including TSA airport security checkpoints – if the license or card was issued by a REAL ID compliant state in accordance with the REAL IDsecurity standards.
If your driver’s license does not have a gold star in the upper right hand corner you need tp make an appointment with the PBC Tax Collector’s office (our state driver’s licensing agency). Check the agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID.
At a minimum, you will be required to provide documentation showing:
- Your Full Legal Name;
- Date of Birth;
- Social Security Number;
- Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and
- Lawful Status.
May 2023 may seem a long ways off but waiting until the last moment to become REAL ID compliant could cause frustration especially if you need to access a federal facility or wish to board a regulated commercial aircraft.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer; stay safe (don’t forget to continue to be mindful of the virus and continue to take measures to stay healthy even if you have received your vaccination).
It’s been a pretty stressful 18 months as we have self-isolated and then slowly resumed our daily interaction with others. The good news is we can resume group activities while being mindful of our health.
Our first responders, our healthcare professionals and front line workers deserve our gratitude for being there throughout this period. Don’t forget to say thank you.