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REAL ID

REAL IDThe REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

 

Current Status of States / Territories

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COMPLIANT
EXTENSION
UNDER REVIEW
NOT COMPLIANT


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013 a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act (the Act), as passed by Congress, that will implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way.

Secure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

DHS is committed to enforcing the REAL ID Act in accordance with the phased enforcement schedule and regulatory timeframes and is not inclined to grant additional extensions to any states that are not both committed to achieving full compliance and making substantial and documented progress in satisfying any unmet requirements. It has been 12 years since the REAL ID Act was passed and half of all the states have already met the REAL ID minimum standards. It is time that the remaining jurisdictions turn their commitments to secure identification into action.

Description and Schedule of Enforcement Phases

The following enforcement measures are cumulative, with measures in each phase remaining in effect through successive phases. Each phase will begin with a 3-month period where agencies will provide notice to individuals attempting to use driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states but still allow access. After this period is over, agencies will no longer accept such identification for entry to Federal facilities, and individuals will need to follow the agency’s alternate procedures (to be made available by the agency).

  • Phase 1: Restricted areas (i.e., areas accessible by agency personnel, contractors, and their guests) for DHS’s Nebraska Avenue Complex (NAC) headquarters.
  • Phase 2: Restricted areas for all Federal facilities and nuclear power plants.
  • Phase 3: Semi-restricted areas (i.e., areas available to the general public but subject to ID-based access control) for most Federal facilities (subject to limitations described in the next section). Access to Federal facilities will continue to be allowed for purposes of applying for or receiving Federal benefits.
  • Phase 4: Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

For more information on Facility Security Level, please see the Interagency Security Committee standard, Section Four

Limitations

The Act does not require individuals to present identification where it is not currently required to access a Federal facility (such as to enter the public areas of the Smithsonian) nor does it prohibit an agency from accepting other forms of identity documents other than documents from non-compliant states (such as a U.S. passport or passport card).

The Act’s prohibitions do not affect other uses of driver’s licenses or identification cards – including licenses and cards from noncompliant states – unrelated to official purposes as defined in the Act.

For more information, please contact the REAL ID Program Office at REALID@dhs.gov.

Additional Information

Last Published Date: March 26, 2020

REAL ID News & Updates RSS Icon

Mar 26

“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."

Feb 19

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.

Jan 24

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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