Real ID: People from these 12 states could soon face travel restrictions

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Real ID compliance: Travelers from these states could soon face restrictions
Image Credit: Dept. of Homeland Security
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American citizens in 12 states and four U.S. territories have a little more time to fall in line with new identification rules set by the government. If not, those residents may be unable to fly on domestic flights without a passport.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in October of 2018 that 37 states were compliant with new identification requirements mandated by the Real ID Act. Several states, however, have yet to be fully compliant with the rules, which will govern all state-issued driver’s licenses or ID cards accepted by authorities and valid for air travel.

These states and territories must comply with new ID rules in 2019

American citizens will need the Real IDs for official functions, such as domestic air travel, entering federal buildings, nuclear power plants and other things. A passport will still be required for travel abroad.

The agency initially imposed a deadline of October 2018 to enforce the new ID rules, but since many states still didn’t adhere to the rules, another extension was granted.

What does Real ID compliant mean?

A compliant identification consists of either a photo ID or an ID with your complete name, birth date, signature, eye color, gender and anti-counterfeiting technology, among other things.

Inspired by recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2005. The law prompted a mass crackdown on fake IDs and mandated that all states and territories enact stricter standards before issuing IDs.

New technology was rolled out that made it harder for criminals to trick the system and mimic ID cards. The new rules also meant that Americans needed more proof of identity — such as original birth certificates — when applying for the cards.

Since then, most states have complied with the new ID rules, but several have dragged their feet for various reasons ranging from privacy concerns to budgeting issues.

Despite the government shutdown, the U.S. territory of Gaum was issued an extension after their compliance deadline passed in early January. Here are the states  and territories that need to comply by a separate deadline in 2019, according to the Department of Homeland Security website:

Noncompliant Jurisdiction 2019 Extension Ends
Alaska June 1, 2019
American Samoa October 10, 2019
California October 1, 2020
Guam April 10, 2019
Illinois June 1, 2019
Kentucky August 1, 2019
Maine October 10, 2019
Missouri August 1, 2019
Montana June 1, 2019
New Jersey June 1, 2019
North Marianas June 1, 2019
Oklahoma October 10, 2019
Oregon October 10, 2019
Pennsylvania August 1, 2019
Rhode Island May 1, 2019
U.S. Virgin Islands April 1, 2019

Traveling out of the country soon? Take this step

People in these areas may want to consider obtaining a passport just in case so as to become TSA-compliant sooner rather than later. If you don’t expedite the process, the typical time it takes to get a passport is four to six weeks, according to the Department of State.

It is the purview of the head of the Department of Homeland Security to grant REAL ID extensions, the agency says on its website:

“Federal agencies may not accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by states that do not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act.  However, the Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant extensions of time to meet the REAL ID requirements to states that provide adequate justification for noncompliance. Federal agencies may accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by noncompliant states that have been granted extensions by DHS.”

Is the government using REAL ID to create a national database?

One of the main criticisms about the REAL ID Act is that many people see it as the government’s attempt to use Americans’ personal information to create a national database that could be used for nefarious reasons. This is what Homeland Security says about that assertion:

“REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances.”

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