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Regardless of the country you are from or traveling within, air travel is closely controlled by the government and specific documentation is always required to prove you are authorized to travel. Most people already know that a passport and a visa are required for most international travel, but what about domestic flights? For those traveling within the United States who are not citizens, it is also advised that you carry a valid passport from the country of your birth at all times. This is true even if you are a legal permanent resident of the U.S. and this will become more important in the next several months with the implementation of the Real ID Act.
The Real ID Act was passed in 2005 setting out requirements for all air travel within the U.S. and access to certain government facilities. Nationwide compliance with the Real ID Act will start in May of 2023 which will require everyone living in the United States to obtain new enhanced identification cards. These cards are issued by the state in which a person lives and the requirements for obtaining the ID also vary by state. The basic qualifications for an enhanced ID will be to prove legal presence in the U.S. and the possession of a social security number. If you already have the required documents for an enhanced ID, it is recommended that you obtain yours now instead of waiting for May 2023. This will eliminate a lot of stress in May, especially for those with emergency travel needs.
Because the U.S. has a large population of people without citizenship or legal permanent residency, there will be many immigrants unable to obtain an enhanced identification card. The question for these individuals is whether it will still be possible to travel by air within the U.S. after May of 2023? The answer depends on the history of the individual, but it is expected that these people will still be able to use airline travel as long as they make sure to always have whatever immigration documents they have been issued with them to avoid unnecessary travel delays or problems with government agents.
For example, individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) should always carry their work permits as well as a copy of their TPS approval letter whenever they are traveling, whether by air or by ground travel. Similarly, those who have been issued advance parole or similar travel permits should carry these approvals together with a valid passport to ensure their travel is as smooth as possible.
Besides domestic flights, advance parole holders have the added benefit of being able to leave and re-enter the U.S. without having to obtain a separate visa. Also, since airlines are authorized to accept advance parole documents in place of a visa, this eliminates the need to be inspected by immigration agents upon arrival to the U.S. It goes without saying that travel without these important documents will certainly bring unnecessary delay or other avoidable problems.
If you have questions about travel requirements or how to obtain a travel permit, please contact our office to schedule a consultation so we can help you. You can do this either by calling our office at +1 888 589 2228 or by using the following link to schedule an appointment online: https://marvinlawoffice.com/schedule-a-consultation/