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The new compliant ID requirement to fly make cause headaches for married women, trans people

August 6, 2018

The new compliant ID requirement to fly make cause headaches for married women, trans people

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Getting through airport security is always a hassle. But travelers beware: starting in October 2020, if you want to use a driver’s license as identification to fly, you will need to get a new compliant driver’s license that meets new federal standards.

To obtain a compliant driver’s license, you must supply a plethora of identifying documents to prove you are who you say you are, and live where you say you live, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

You can read more about the requirements to obtain a compliant ID here.

The new requirements may create additional headaches for anyone who has ever changed their name: married women who changed their last names after marriage and trans people.

Here’s why:

You must provide proof of your full legal name, date of birth and legal U.S. residency with documents like a passport or birth certificate, which on the surface sounds easy enough.

But only 42 percent of Americans had a passport in 2017, according to the BBC.

That means many people will be stuck using their birth certificates.

And if your current name does not match the one listed on your birth certificate, you must provide more specific documents that connect the dots to your new identity.

These people will need to dig up dusty marriage licenses, tucked away copies of court-ordered name changes, and in some cases, forgotten decrees of divorce or annulments.

Cue the hassle for women who changed their names after marriage and trans people.

“When we think about name change we are thinking about particularly women and trans individuals who are most likely to incur this challenge,” Ohio State University women, gender and sexuality studies associate professor Wendy Smooth said. “For men in traveling, this becomes a no-brainer. You go to their airport. Your identity has always been the same. But through our social mores we’ve made a social requirement of women to make name changes. So those things become a special challenge for a particular group of people, and as I said it is an undue challenge, undue burden.”

If they can’t get their hands on these documents, they’ll need to request copies of them. That takes time, money and an understanding of sometimes complicated government systems.

“I mean you think about the number of times you may have moved in your lifetime, whether or not those records are readily available,” Smooth said. “The cost of requesting birth certificates and other vital records are all costs, whether we’re talking about the actual cost that’s paid to the county recorder or whether we’re talking about the cost of time that it takes to secure those documents. And actually just navigating those systems can be an undue burden on people that really shouldn’t be, we’re talking about something so simple as travel.”

What documents can you use to connect your birth certificate name to your current name?

You can bring a marriage license or certificate, decree of divorce, dissolution or annulment, or certified copy of a court-ordered name change, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If you’ve been married and changed your name more than once, you’ll need to bring documents from each marriage or divorce to connect those names to your current name. 

Here’s how to track down your marriage license or divorce decrees in Ohio:

You must contact the county probate court where you received your marriage license, according to the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics.

In Cuyahoga County, you can call the Cuyahoga County Probate Court at 216-443-8764.

You should contact the county where your divorce was finalized to get a copy of a divorce decree.

In Cuyahoga County, you can contact the certified copy department at 216-443-7977

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