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Driver’s licensesDHS extends deadline for Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses

Published 11 January 2016

DHS on Friday announced that air travelers who are residents of several states which are yet to meet the Real ID federal security standards would still be able to use their driver’s licenses at U.S. airports until 22 January 2018. From that point on, if the traveler’s state does not yet offer a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, the passenger would be required to present an alternative identification document such as a passport. Five state and American Samoa were not given the extension, and must become compliant by January 2018.

States in compliance (dark) with Real ID // Source: commons.wikimedia.org

DHS on Friday announced that air travelers who are residents of several states which are yet to meet the Real ID federal security standards would still be able to use their driver’s licenses at U.S. airports until 22 January 2018. The Verge notes from that point on, if the traveler’s state does not yet offer a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, the passenger would be required to present an alternative identification document such as a passport.

The Real ID Act was passed in 2005, and it requires driver’s license to include biometric information and anti-counterfeit technology, and for the state to run background checks on license applicants Initially, all states were supposed to offer Real ID-compliant licenses by January 2008, but the deadline has been extended several times as some states’ legislature balked at the expense involved, or were suspicious that the change would eventually lead too a national ID.

So far twenty-three states and U.S. territories have complied with Real ID standards, and twenty-seven states and territories have been granted extension. Some of those extensions allow some states not to offer compliant driver’s licenses until 1 October  2020.

The Verge notes that Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and American Samoa have not made an effort to meet the required standards, so the TSA did not grant those states an extension, meaning that they now have two years – until January 2018 — to become compliant.

Over the next two years, those states that are not Real ID compliant are strongly encouraged to meet the requirements of the law for the benefit of their residents,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “Given today’s threat environment, this requirement is as relevant now as it was when the 9/11 Commission recommended it.”

DHS is urging fliers to check their state’s Real ID compliance on the department’s Web site, as well as looking into obtaining a new card from licensing agencies in currently compliant states.