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Could New Yorkers Soon Need Passports For Domestic Travel?

UPDATED 09/23/15 8:43 p.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Your passport is required for most international flights, but there was concern Monday that New Yorkers might need to pack it for domestic flights as well.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said New York state driver's licenses are among those in four states that do not meet federal standards for the Real ID Act – set to go into effect in 2016.

Some New Yorkers were not pleased.

"I think people need to know if they're not going to be able to board," said Nicole Lebris.

AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair explained the reason this could possibly happen.

"Whatever the current requirements are, apparently, to get your driver's license, it's insufficient as far as the Department of Homeland Security is concerned, to be able to battle against terrorists possibly getting fraudulent IDs and getting onto planes," he said.

New Yorkers wondered what they would have to use to get onto a plane.

"You'd have to carry a passport?" Lebris said.

A valid passport is always accepted, or New Yorkers might need to visit their local Department of Motor Vehicles office in person to get a new ID.

Since 2008, the state has offered enhanced driver's licenses, or EDL's, which cost $30 on top of the cost of a standard driver's license.

"To get the new EDL, or enhanced driver's license, (requirements include) proof of identity, proof of Social Security number, proof of New York state residency, proof of date of birth, and proof of U.S. citizenship," Sinclair said.

New York resident Joe did not like the idea at all.

"That's a hardship," he said. "We all know what the DMV is like."

The state DMV said it has requested an extension to the Real ID Act, and has had productive discussions with the DHS.

The DMV went on to say, "We have no reason to believe that any New Yorker will have a problem using their current state-issued ID card to get on a plane come January 2016."

The Department of Homeland Security also said it was committed to working with state officials to grant extensions for Real ID Act compliance, and said New Yorkers do not need to worry about their driver's licenses being inadequate for flying.

"DHS will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice before any changes are made that could possibly affect their travel planning. That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver's license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft," the statement said. "Until DHS announces details about Phase Four enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration will continue to accept state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards from all states."

But DHS did say that New York driver's licenses and state IDs – as well as the other noncompliant states of New Hampshire, Minnesota and Louisiana and the territory of American Samoa – will not be able to access military bases or federal facilities rated at a security level of three or greater as of Oct. 10.

None of the New Yorkers who spoke to CBS2 had any idea the change was coming.

The Real ID Act requires states to issue more secure IDs in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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