Traveling in the coming days?
That Washington driver’s license in your wallet will get you past security and onto your flight.
But it may not get you into a secure federal facility soon.
New requirements for access take effect starting next week at Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.
Travel Leaders, a Tri-City agency with offices in Kennewick, Richland and Yakima, is inundated with frantic inquiries from people worried that they won’t be able to board domestic flights after Jan. 10 with only a state-issued driver’s license.
That’s not the case, said CEO Julie Harrington.
You can still travel domestically with your Washington state driver’s license beyond Jan. 10.
Julie Harrington, CEO of Travel Leaders
“You can still travel domestically with your Washington state driver’s license beyond Jan. 10,” she said.
The confusion arises from 2005’s “Real ID” act of Congress. The rules are supposed to take effect Jan. 10, but to date, the Transportation Security Administration has not been authorized to enforce them. The rules will affect admission to federal sites, nuclear power plants and military bases.
The Real ID requirement, whenever it takes effect, promises to bring some chaos to Washington state, where about 5 million standard-issue driver’s licenses do not meet the federal requirements. Washington residents can pay $3 per year for an enhanced ID that affirms the holder is a U.S. citizen.
Washington has issued about 500,000 enhanced driver’s licenses. It takes seven to 10 days to obtain one.
A U.S. passport is also considered a form of Real ID. It takes an average of four to six weeks to process a passport application. Expedited service is available for a higher fee.
DHS plans to give 120 days notice when air-travel requirements change.
The Department of Homeland Security has said the agency is making plans to change air-travel requirements, but won’t do so without a 120-day notice.
Hanford, PNNL access
Starting next week, new requirements are expected to take effect for people visiting parts of the Hanford nuclear reservation that require security badges for access.
It is expected to affect new hires, subcontractors, delivery drivers, vendors, invited tour participants and other visitors.
If a standard Washington driver’s license or identification card is used, a second form of identification will be required. Standard driver’s licenses from Illinois, Missouri and New Mexico also will not be accepted without a second form of identification.
Acceptable second forms include a Social Security card, voter registration card, original or certified copy of a birth certificate, certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization, Native American tribal document or an ID card issued by a federal, state or local government.
Hanford, PNNL access requirements change next week.
An unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. military ID card also may be used for Hanford badging, with no second form of identification required.
Plans are still in flux for public tours of Hanford that start in the spring, with information to be provided before they start about what forms of identification will be required.
At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, which is a Department of Energy national laboratory, a Washington standard driver’s license or state ID card will be sufficient for visitors who are escorted at the lab.
However, unescorted visitors, including subcontractors, will need to present alternate or supplemental identification starting next week.
The specifics of requirements at the Columbia Generating Station, the nuclear power plant near Richland, were not immediately available Monday.