Currently, there are three types of I.D.s available. (For the purposes of this article, we will refer to a) drivers licenses and b) New York State.):
Standard driver’s licenses will not be valid for federal purposes, such as flying commercially or accessing federal buildings and military bases.
Enhanced drivers licenses will require also require a U.S. Passport for boarding domestic and international flights and entering federal buildings and installations.
Real I.D. will allow immediate access to commercial domestic and foreign flights and all federal buildings and installations.
Getting a REAL ID is not mandatory but is encouraged
A REAL ID is optional and is not needed for the following:
- Being licensed to drive
- Voting or registering to vote
- Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
- Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
- Accessing health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
- Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations
However, by October 1, 2020, all citizens, legal residents and all other persons working or studying in the U.S. and its territories, and in situations requiring a government i.d., will be required to have a validated enhanced state I.D. or, a fed-state”Real ID”. Below are the specifics.
What: The REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302, enacted May 11, 2005, is an Act of Congress that modified U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for the state driver’s licenses and identification (ID) cards, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.
A Real ID-compliant form of identification requires, at a minimum, the following pieces of data:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Unique, identifying number
- Principal residence address
- Resident status
- Front-facing photograph of the applicant
Real I.D.s must also feature specific security features intended to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes. These cards must also present data in a common, machine-readable format (bar codes, Smart card technology, etc.).
The law set forth certain requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as presenting state driver’s licenses and identification cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.
Each state must agree to share its motor vehicle database with all other states. This database must include, at a minimum, all the data printed on the state drivers’ licenses and ID cards, plus drivers’ histories (including motor vehicle violations, suspensions, and points on licenses) and include resident status.
When: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security postponed the effective date of the Real ID Act implementation deadline until October 1, 2020.
After this final implementation deadline, some non-Real-ID-compliant licenses will continue to be accepted for federal purposes, provided DHS judges that the state which issued such a license is in full compliance with the Real ID Act by the final implementation deadline. However, in order for their licenses to be accepted for federal purposes, all people born after December 1, 1964 will be required to have Real-ID-compliant cards by December 1, 2014. Additionally, in order to be accepted for federal purposes, people born before December 1, 1964 will be required to have Real-ID-compliant cards by December 1, 2017.
Why: Doesn’t matter. It’s federal law.
The above are facts. My opinion:
The above very brief summary in no way reflects all of the conditions and definitions set forth in that actual law. I foresee a ton of litigation, especially related to state-sharing agreements, insurance company interaction and immigration status.
Our Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, stay safe.