A Summary of the Real ID Act & Why it Matters

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topWhether you are a frequent traveler or someone who needs to occasionally set foot inside a federal facility, the Real ID Act of 2005 could affect you in the very near future.  No one likes unpleasant surprises and this piece of legislation, now over a decade old, could pose a major inconvenience to some people in the next few years.  Here is what you need to know about the Real ID Act and how it might impact your life.

What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act was born in 2005 courtesy of the 9/11 Commission.  The goal was to make fake ID’s more difficult to obtain, hence the name of the law.  The new law is supposed to make it harder to obtain an official ID in any state by requiring more proof of identity.  Under current guidelines, all state-issued identification cards and licenses are accepted by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) at airports.  This is set to change once enforcement of the Act commences.

At some point in the future, all U.S. citizens will be required to a have a Real ID document in order to enter a federal facility or nuclear power plant, or to fly on a commercial aircraft.  A standard ID will also be accepted if the traveler also has a valid passport or some other valid form of identification.   As of June 23, 2016, only 23 states have attained complete compliance with the Real ID Act.

Where are States at with Compliance?

If your state is in complete compliance, you won’t need to get a new license.  Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Iowa, Nevada, and Hawaii.  Several states have been listed as “non-compliant” with the Act.  These include: American Samoa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington.  All other states and territories have been given an extension by the federal government to change their licenses to come in compliance with Federal standards.

When Are the Deadlines for the Real ID Act?

There are several deadline dates in 2016 floating around, but the head of Homeland Security has issued assurances that the final phase of the Real ID Act won’t be implemented until 2018.  Specifically, effective January 22, 2018, all travelers must present a Real ID Act-compliant identification card, be from a state that has been granted an extension, or present an alternative form of identification such as a passport.

What You Need to Know About Your Current ID

Chances are you won’t need to do anything.  If your state achieves compliance with the Real ID Act, your current identification card will remain valid until its expiration date.  According to the latest report from the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 90% of drivers in the United States are from areas that are either in compliance with the Act or that have been granted extensions.   Unfortunately, if you are from one of those states or territories that is non-compliant or is taking a stand due to privacy issues, you’ll want to have an extra form of identification on hand when you travel in the next couple of years.

Published by Kidal Delonix (764 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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