Confirmed: You can use a CI to travel, but may need other IDs too
American Samoans can use the Certificate of Identity (CI) for travel to Hawaii, along with additional identification, required by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — which oversees security checks points at all US airports. It is recommended by TSA that you carry additional IDs just in case verification is needed — a “Certificate of Identification Guidance & TSA ID Requirements” information leaflet lists acceptable ‘other’ IDs.
ASG officials confirmed this at last Friday’s Senate Public Safety/Homeland Security Committee hearing, which was a continuation of the one from last Wednesday, where senators wanted clear and solid information pertaining to the use of CIs to enter Hawai’i and that the CIs are accepted not only by TSA but Hawaiian Airlines.
As previously reported Samoa News, local officials had already been informed that US immigration will continue to accept CI to enter Honolulu, but the airline and TSA have a different policy.
Governor’s Legal Counsel Alema Leota told Samoa News late last week that “we received information” that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “will continue their policy of accepting CIs. They have not received a directive to change this policy.”
At last Friday’s Senate hearing, local Homeland Security Department ASDHS) director Samana Semo Ve’ave’a recalled a conference call last Wednesday afternoon with officials of the US Department of Homeland Security and those from TSA’s headquarters in Washington D.C.
Issues during the conference call included use of CI for American Samoans to check in at Hawaiian Airlines, as well as being accepted by TSA agents in Pago Pago. Following the conference call, ASG officials also met with locally based officials of Hawaiian and TSA to reconfirm the acceptance of CI with other acceptable forms of IDs.
A “Certificate of Identification Guidance & TSA ID Requirements” information leaflet distributed at the hearing from ASDHS, explained the TSA accepted proof of identification.
At TSA check points at the airport, it says that TSA will take one of the following as proof of identity: acceptable state issued driver’s license (except American Samoa), US passport, US passport card.
If the individual does not possess these, then “other forms” of ID will be needed. Furthermore, traveler may be asked to present at least two forms of ID with their names and other identifying information, such as photo, address, phone number, social security number or date of birth.
Traveler may present the following:
• temporary paper IDs • expired IDs • credit cards • social security card • birth certificate • marriage certificate • bank statements or bills • Certificate of Identity will count as other forms of ID.
TSA online link provides the list of acceptable identifications which, by themselves, can be used to prove identity and to pass through TSA checkpoints. Link at: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification
Samana suggested during the hearing that if the traveler doesn't have a passport, to check in early, in case there’s additional information needed by TSA to verify the person traveling.
When asked by the committee if Hawaiian will accept CIs, the airline’s local station manager, Tuli Fruean, who was also a witness at the hearing Friday, responded “yes”, saying that there is now further clarification on what’s needed when a traveler checks in.
Another witness at the hearing, Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale noted the TSA required IDs at the airport, but suggested that the traveler bring to the airport any other form of ID — such as a military ID — in the event additional identification is needed by the airline and TSA to verify the identity of the person,
In a news release last Friday that confirms the use of CIs, the Governor’s Office says that TSA has recommended that travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of their flight time to complete the security check process.
Furthermore, “TSA stressed that travelers will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if their identity cannot be confirmed, if they choose to not provide proper identification, or if they decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.”
The news release also quotes Samana thanking CBP, TSA, and USDHS for clarifications regarding the CIs and TSA required identification. He expressed special thanks to TSA’s Steve Yonkers and Mark H. Carlson — CBP supervisory program manager in San Francisco “for confirming this critical information for our travelers.”
Effective today — Feb. 5th — residents of American Samoa will no longer be able to use territory-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to fly domestically or enter federal buildings and military installations, according to a USDHS announcement on Jan. 19th. (See Samoa News edition Jan. 30th for details.)
See tomorrow’s edition regarding the latest update on American Samoa working towards full compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.