What you need to know about Real ID in 2020: answers to the most common questions
The Real ID certificate is part of the legislation that grew out of the recommendations of the Commission on September 11 and became law back in 2005. Under certain conditions, the law prohibits federal agencies from accepting ordinary state driver’s licenses and state IDs that do not meet minimum standards, explains US Department of Homeland Security. Here's what you need to know about this identity.
What is a Real ID?
Approved by Congress in 2005, the Real ID Act passed Commission 9/11's recommendation that the federal government “set standards for issuing identification sources, such as a driver’s license.” The law has set minimum security standards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting official driving licenses and IDs from states that do not meet these standards. Real ID has three goals:
- access to federal facilities;
- boarding a commercial aircraft of federal regulation;
- visit to nuclear power plants.
When will the Real ID be valid?
The final implementation date is October 1, 2020. By this date, not only all states must issue a driver’s license or IDs that correspond to the Real ID, but applicants for such certificates must also visit the agency issuing them in their state and get a Real ID card. At the same time, the new certificate has an alternative - you can use a US passport to fly on commercial flights or gain access to federal facilities.
What will happen on October 1, 2020?
Federal agencies, including DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and TSA (Transportation Security Administration), may only accept state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs to access federal facilities, including TSA airport security checkpoints, only if these documents meet the requirements Real ID (rights or card must include star marking corresponding to Real ID).
Extended Driving License (EDL) issued in Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont are considered acceptable alternatives to Real ID compatible cards and are also accepted for official Real ID purposes. Most EDLs do not contain star markings, and this is also acceptable.
Do all states issue Real ID cards?
DHS works closely with all states and territories to provide assistance and fully comply with the requirements by October 1, 2020. As of September 5, 2019, 50 states and territories were fully compliant with Real ID requirements, and all states are going to begin issuing the appropriate licenses and identifiers by the deadline of October 1, 2020.
How to get a Real ID?
Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to see exactly what documents are required to receive your new ID. At a minimum, you must provide documents with the following data:
- full official name;
- Date of Birth;
- social Security number;
- two proofs of address of primary residence;
- proof of legal status.
States may have additional requirements, so check your driver’s licensing agency website before visiting in person for additional guidance and assistance.
How do I know if my driver’s license or ID is in accordance with Real ID?
Cards compatible with Real ID will have one of the following marks at the top of the card. If the card does not have any of these marks, it does not correspond to the Real ID and will not be accepted as identification for boarding a commercial aircraft.
Real ID examples:
When will you need to submit a new document when traveling within the country?
Starting October 1, 2020, each resident of the state and territory will have to provide a driver’s license or an ID that complies with the Real ID, or another acceptable form of identification, to access federal facilities, to enter nuclear power plants and to board a commercial aircraft. Or use a passport, passport card, an extended driver's license issued by the state. The law does not require individuals to show identification when they do not need access to a federal institution (for example, to enter the Smithsonian Institution's public areas), and does not prohibit the agency from accepting other forms of identity documents (for example, a US passport or passport).
Do minors need a driver’s license / ID to fly inland?
Not. The TSA does not require children under the age of 18 to provide ID when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will require acceptable identification.
What happens to travelers who do not provide the appropriate document? TSA will not miss them?
Travelers who do not provide a license or a Real ID-compliant driver license or an acceptable alternative starting October 1, 2020 will not be allowed to go through the security checkpoint.
Is a passport the only alternative to a Real ID?
Not. TSA accepts several other identification documents. For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding an aircraft, visit TSA website.
Can I use a Real ID to cross the border with Canada and Mexico and for international travel?
Not. Real ID cards cannot be used for these purposes.
Can I use a Real ID for sea trips?
Not. REAL ID cards cannot be used for international sea cruises.
Do I need a passport if I have a Real ID?
If you are traveling abroad, you will still need a passport. If you are traveling inland, you will only need one valid form of identification - your Real ID or another acceptable alternative, such as a passport, but not both.
What type of state-issued driver's license and ID are DHS currently accepting to access its buildings and facilities and at TSA security checkpoints?
Until the full use of Real ID, DHS and its agencies, including TSA at airport checkpoints, begins on October 1, 2020, they will continue to accept all state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs, as well as incompatible documents, for identification purposes with a valid extension.
Will the federal agency accept extended driver licenses?
Yes. Extended State Driving License (EDL) issued by the state DHS considers acceptable documents for crossing the border in the Western Hemisphere and are acceptable alternatives for official federal purposes, such as access to a federal facility or boarding a commercial plane. Individual agency policies may still apply.
Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington are the only states that release EDL. For more information on EDL, go to link.
What types of driver licenses and IDs do federal agencies outside of DHS use?
Federal agencies have the authority to set their own minimum access security requirements and, if desired, not accept inappropriate cards until October 1, 2020.
For example, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has recently completed updating its security policy and is currently in the process of refusing to accept inappropriate cards in all of its facilities. However, the agency will continue to accept unlabeled "obsolete" cards issued by the states until the deadline of October 1, 2020.
To make sure you have the proper identification, DHS recommends that you contact the federal agency you plan to visit in advance.
Recall that the Real ID Act applies when an individual presents a state-issued driver’s license or ID to a federal agency for “official purposes,” such as boarding commercial aircraft regulated by federal law. Although this ID card may not be needed for other purposes, such as driving a car, voting, banking or applying for benefits or work, DHS recommends contacting the appropriate organizations for their specific identification requirements.
Is DHS going to create a national database with information about US residents?
Not. Real ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. Real ID does not create a federal driver license information database. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records and controls who gets access to these records and under what circumstances. The purpose of Real ID is to make identity documents more consistent and secure.
How does the implementation of Real ID affect the issuance of a driver’s license and identity cards to non-citizens or immigrants without documents?
Real ID allows states to issue driver's licenses and identification cards, including if the applicant’s identity cannot be verified or legal presence is not established. In fact, some states still issue cards to undocumented people. Incompatible cards must clearly indicate that they are unacceptable for Real ID purposes, and must use a unique design or color to distinguish them from compatible cards. DHS warns against the assumption that an incompatible card means the illegal status of its holder - people can receive such cards for many reasons not related to their legal presence.
How will phasing out the Deferred Arrival of Children (DACA) program affect the issuance of driver's licenses and ID cards to DACA beneficiaries?
The Real ID Act allows states to issue temporary (time-limited) driver's licenses and IDs corresponding to the Real ID to applicants who provide valid documentary evidence that they have an “approved deferred status”. In accordance with the Real ID regulation, DACA applicants who have valid work permit documents (EAD) and Social Security Number (SSN) can apply for a temporary Real ID and ID. The DACA program has standardized and accelerated the process of obtaining these documents for people who want to get a Real ID and save temporary identifiers until they expire.
Can a person who has been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) receive a driver license and ID that is compatible with Real ID? How long will this last?
Yes, the TPS beneficiary can get a driver’s license or an ID that matches the Real ID. The head of the Department of Homeland Security may grant TPS status to a foreigner due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent safe return to their homeland, or in certain circumstances where the country cannot adequately handle the return of its citizens. USCIS may provide TPS with eligible citizens of certain specific countries (or parts of countries) that are already in the United States. Persons who are eligible for citizenship who usually resided in the specified country for the last time may also be granted TPS.
The validity of a driver’s license or identity card usually depends on the length of the TPS period. When a DHS assigns or renews a TPS status for a country, it can do so for 6 months or longer with a federal registry notice. TPS recipient status is tied to the country designated for TPS. Pursuant to the 2005 Act, an interim driver’s license or an interim identity card issued to individuals who have a pending or approved TPS application, “is valid only for the applicant’s authorized stay in the United States or, if there is no specific end to the authorized stay, period of one year. " You can find out more about the dates and dates of expiration of documents. here.
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