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REAL ID Act of 2005

12 Months Remaining Until Full REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reminding Americans that only 12 months remain until the October 1, 2021 REAL ID enforcement goes into effect. DHS continues to urge Americans to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card or acceptable alternative well before this deadline.

All US States Now Compliant Ahead of REAL ID Deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) is announcing that after more than 15 years since Congress passed the REAL ID Act, all 50 states are now in full compliance issuing these cards, with most states becoming compliant in the last four years.

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf Statement on the REAL ID Enforcement Deadline

Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

NOTE: The published Federal Register notice can be found at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-27/pdf/2020-08481.pdf

Acceptance of Electronically Submitted Copies of Source Documents

On February 19, 2020, DHS sent letters to the governors of all 50 states regarding the REAL ID program. The letters pertain to States’ ability to accept electronically submitted copies of source documents, with certain restrictions in advance of an in-person DMV visit. The attachments to this page reflect the two main templates used in the letters.

Green Light Law

In response to New York State implementing the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Green Light Law), Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf announced New York residents will no longer be eligible to apply for or renew their enrollment in certain Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) like Global Entry. The law prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from sharing information with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), preventing DHS from fully vetting New York residents.

DHS Announces Streamlining Measures To Help States In Issuing REAL IDs

After soliciting ideas, solutions and proposals from the public, states, private sector, and relevant associations, DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf sent letters to state governors informing them of increased flexibility regarding electronic submission of required documents for REAL ID applications. Specifically, the states may now add the pre-submission of identity and lawful status source documents, through a secure electronic process, prior to an applicant’s in-person DMV visit, and physical presentation of those same documents for authentication and verification by DMV personnel. The result will be a faster, more streamlined process for DMVs and the American public.

DHS Steps Up REAL ID Education and Awareness Efforts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently sent letters to the Governors of all states, the District of Columbia, and territories asking them to provide DHS with a monthly update of the number of REAL IDs issued by their jurisdictions. The states now report to DHS that they have collectively issued more than 95 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards (34%) out of 276 million total cards. While this is a noteworthy improvement over the 67 million REAL ID-compliant cards (27%) out of a total 249 million total cards previously reported in the fall, DHS urges the American public to get a REAL ID immediately and not wait until the deadline.

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