Air Force Bases Will No Longer Accept Some IDs

Gate guard. Sue Sapp/Air Force
Gate guard. Sue Sapp/Air Force

Air Force bases will no longer allow visitors to use driver's licenses from three states and American Samoa to gain access beginning Aug. 15.

The change brings the service in line with Navy, Marine Corps and Army bases as well as other federal facilities, which began enforcing the rule early this year.

State-issued driver's licenses and identification cards from Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and American Samoa will no longer be sufficient to obtain a visitor's pass on any Defense Department installation because those cards don't comply with federal standards, officials said. Enhanced driver's licenses issued by Minnesota or Washington still will be accepted.

At issue is state compliance with the 2005 REAL ID Act, which requires states to meet minimum security requirements for their state-issued ID cards, such as driver's licenses. Licenses from New Mexico and Illinois, which initially were also barred, are currently permitted after those states were granted a compliance extension by the Department of Homeland Security.

Although acceptable alternate forms of identification can vary by base, Air Force officials said in a release that they will accept valid U.S. or foreign government passports; employment authorization documents that include a photo; or ID cards issued by federal, state or local government agencies that include a "photo and biographical information."

Air Force officials said the service did not begin enforcing the ID card ban early this year at the same time as the other services because they were waiting on "additional guidance."

"The Air Force approached the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence with a request for clarifying guidance on Real ID, and we've now received that guidance and are moving forward for implementing it," said Maj. Brian Lewis, an Air Force spokesman.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at

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