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DHS Releases Phased Enforcement Schedule for REAL ID

Release Date: December 20, 2013

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

States Already Successfully Implementing 70% of the Standards

WASHINGTON— In line with the previously announced timeline, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released an achievable schedule for the phased enforcement of the REAL ID Act of 2005 (“Act”) for driver’s licenses and identification cards, taking another step toward a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

Every state has a more secure driver’s license today than they did before the passage of the Act.  Currently, DHS has determined that forty-one states and territories are either fully compliant with the REAL ID standards or have made sufficient progress to qualify for an extension.  States have already successfully implemented more than 70% of the standards, demonstrating the achievability of the law. 

The Federal Government will begin phasing in enforcement of the REAL ID Act as required by law, in a measured, fair, responsible, and achievable way.  The first phase will begin on January 20, 2014 and is limited to DHS headquarters in Washington before expanding to other Federal facilities later this year.  The fourth phase covers acceptable IDs that can be used for boarding a federally regulated commercial aircraft. Before a date for Phase 4 is set, DHS will conduct an evaluation to inform a fair and achievable timeline.  The date for implementing Phase 4 will be set after the evaluation has been complete; this phase will occur no sooner than 2016.  

“States have made considerable progress in meeting the need identified by the 9/11 Commission to make driver’s licenses and other identification more secure,” says David Heyman, Assistant Secretary for Policy.  “DHS will continue to support their efforts to enhance the security in an achievable way that will make all of our communities safer.”

The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacts one of the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and requires that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act establishes minimum security standards for state issued driver licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes those documents unless DHS determines that the state meets the minimum standards.    

The Department especially commends the 21 states, who already meet the Act’s minimum standards, for their leadership in improving security for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards (Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming). 

DHS has granted extensions to twenty states and territories that have provided information demonstrating that they are on the pathway towards achieving full compliance, including Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia.  

DHS will continue to work with states in support of efforts to reach compliance and, in the interim, to qualify for extensions.  

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards from all jurisdictions until at least 2016. DHS will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change.  

Detailed information on the Phased Enforcement Schedule, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and a list of states that are: (1) compliant; (2) receiving temporary extensions; or (3) subject to enforcement by Federal agencies on December 16, 2013 may be found on the DHS website at http://www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses.



Last Updated: 09/20/2018
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