Hilton Initiative Boosts Passport Applications

passport

With more stringent identification checks looming at airports, Hilton Hotels and Resorts is collaborating with the U.S. State Department on an initiative that encourages more Americans to apply for passports.

The initiative, Hilton Passport Project, stipulates that every few weeks, a Hilton property in the United States will have a passport concierge booth where guests and the general public can have their passport pictures taken for free and apply for or renew their passport. One to three representatives from the State Department will be available to help people fill out applications and answer their questions. The next passport concierge booth will be set up at Hilton Cleveland Downtown Nov. 9–11.

Starting on Jan. 22, travelers who reside in some states will be required to present identification other than a driver’s license to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports—whether they are traveling domestically or internationally. This is because these states are not compliant—or have not been granted an extension to be in compliance with—the Real ID Act, which purportedly is intended to prevent identity fraud, though critics have complained that it is a federal attempt to create a national database of citizens.

Twenty-eight states are in compliance with the Real ID Act; the others either are under review or have received an extension. A full list can be found at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website. Real-ID compliant identification includes anti-counterfeit technology, such as the holograms on some state’s driver’s licenses.

The DHS has indicated that travelers from noncompliant states can present any of more than a dozen forms of acceptable ID, including a passport, border ID card, Real ID compliant driver’s license, permanent resident card and trusted traveler card, such as Global Entry.

There are more than 8,000 passport application locations around the country. Some 60 percent are in post offices, and the rest are in courthouses and libraries. The State Department provides information about where to apply on its website.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, all U.S. air travelers will be required to have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification to fly domestically.