Domestic Flights with your Music Ensemble: New USA Real ID Laws

May 18, 2017 Kate Huffman

At Encore Tours, we make it as easy as possible for music directors who take groups on tour to focus on the most important thing - making music with your students. We provide resources to help recruit students to travel with youfundraise for your trip, and have a team of people including our Program Managers, Tour Consultants, and Client Services experts to help you every step along the way. 

To keep traveling music directors in-the-know, here is the latest information on U.S. rules and regulations concerning identification needed for domestic travel. 

If you've flown recently, you may have seen signs in airports saying "ID requirements are changing". In 2005, a federal law known as the REAL ID Act was passed that modified U.S. federal laws pertaining to state driver's licenses and other identity documents used for travel, including on domestic flights. There have been phases of implementation for the REAL ID Act, and the latest one will be implemented on January 22, 2018. 

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Real ID identification will not be required to fly domestically until January 22, 2018. Prior to this deadline, residents of all states may still use a state-issued driver's license or identification card for domestic air travel. Effective January 22, 2018, air travelers with identification that does not meet the REAL ID Act requirements must have an alternate form of identification - like a military ID, DHS trusted traveler card, or passport - to fly domestically.

How do you know if your state ID meets the REAL ID Act requirements? Check out this interactive map on the status of states and territories complying with the REAL ID Act. You can find out more on the REAL ID FAQ page on the DHS website.

Traveling with your music ensemble doesn't have to be stressful! Contact us at with any questions you may have about identification needed for domestic or international travel.


Passport; Text: Passports and Visas for International Tours, Read the Blog

About the Author

Kate Huffman

Kate first discovered the power of intercultural communication and exchange through music on a month-long trip to China and Japan with her college wind ensemble. She's been hooked on traveling ever since and has performed with different groups in cities such Beijing, London, and Kyoto to name a few! Kate is a clarinet player and a passionate arts advocate with degrees in music, arts administration, and cultural policy. Kate is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Encore Tours.

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