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The REAL ID Act Impact: What Locum Providers Should Know

Whether you’re an experienced locum tenens provider or you’re new to the scene, seamless air travel plays a vital role in making sure that your assignment goes as smoothly as possible. 


Locum providers understand that even the slightest hiccup can lead to inconvenient delays and missed assignment start times, and while some security measures might not directly impact you, one important consideration is the REAL ID Act and how it can impact your travel plans.


Real ID Act Impact on Locums Travel


What is the REAL ID Act?


Originally passed in 2005 in response to recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act has begun implementing new security measures that could affect your travel in recent years.


Essentially, the updated measures require that airline passengers have a driver’s license or ID card that meets more rigorous security standards. Your identification documents must meet these standards in order to be accepted by the TSA. 


How Does This Impact Air Travel?


Identification documents from 48 states are already compliant with the REAL ID Act, which means you will have no problem flying with your driver’s license or ID from those states. At the time of writing, the only two states that are not compliant, but have been issued an extension are Oregon and Oklahoma. 


By May 3, 2023, every passenger will need a valid REAL ID. After this deadline, any driver’s license or ID that doesn’t adhere to the REAL ID standards will no longer be acceptable for commercial flights. This means that once your state becomes compliant, you may need to get your license or ID card renewed prior to being able to travel by air again.


To check the status of each state, please refer to the  DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY REAL ID PAGE.

What Can You Do?


To avoid disruptions from changing laws, look into alternative forms of identification in order to fly. 

Make sure you have an up-to-date passport. If you don’t currently have one, apply for your passport well in advance of your anticipated travel, especially if you’re facing deadlines from a noncompliant state.

The TSA recommends applying during off-peak times between September and December for a smoother process, though you should apply for a passport as soon as you have the opportunity. A passport will ensure that your travel plans go uninterrupted regardless of the status of your state.


The REAL ID Act & Locum Tenens


The full service travel department at D&Y works closely with providers to complete their locum tenens travel arrangements. We maintain a comprehensive travel profile for each of our locum tenens providers that includes ID information to ensure compliance with the TSA. Travel profiles also contain preferences and/or needs, as well as all frequent flyer and rewards club memberships.


For more information, visit our other resources.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2017 and updated in November 2022.

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