Everyone needs a passport to fly to another country. However, after January 1st, 2010, New Mexico residents may need a passport for domestic flights, too. On that date, states are supposed to be in compliance with the “Real ID” act, and Americans without Real ID-compliant IDs will not be able to fly.
New Mexico’s driver’s licenses are not Real ID-compliant, and according to this article on KOAT.com, the state is “nowhere near close.” Lawmakers are working to pass a new bill to modify the Real ID act, enabling residents of New Mexico and other non-compliant states to continue using their driver’s licenses to fly. However, the bill hasn’t been passed yet. According to New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Rick Homans, “The way it is right now, come Jan. 1st, residents of New Mexico and residents of about 25 other states wouldn’t be allowed to board airplanes unless they had a valid passport.”
With so much at stake, if you live in New Mexico and plan to fly after the new year, you should consider filling out a passport application. Sure, the holiday season is busy, but you need to get your application in as early as possible to ensure that you have your passport when you need it. It takes about 3 weeks for a passport application to be processed if you pay for the governments expedited service, and at least 6 weeks for regular service.
If you need your passport application processed more quickly, a private passport expediting service like RushMyPassport.com can help. An expediting service can have your application processed fast, often in as little as 24 hours, and you don’t have to make an appointment or drive down to a Passport Agency office (if you’re in New Mexico, that means driving to Arizona or Colorado).