Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson has announced a new deadline for implementing the Real ID Act which sets requirements for a more secure Federally-approved form of identification. The act was passed in 2005, but fewer than half the states have actually complied fully with the new rules.
Originally the rule was to have gone into effect in phases beginning Jan. 1 of this year. However the new timeline announced by Johnson has a firm final deadline for full Real ID compliance of Jan. 22, 2018. This gives non-compliant states two additional years to implement their ID plans.
In a statement, Homeland Security noted that only 23 states were “fully compliant” with the law, while another 22 states had not met all the requirements, but were given extensions of various lengths because they were working towards implementation.. Five states are completely non-compliant and were not given any extensions beyond Jan. 1 of this year. They are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington.
Implementation of the law has been delayed by an assortment of interests ranging from states’ rights groups, who maintain the Real ID requirements amount to a national ID card, to the ACLU which is concerned that the new IDs may be harder to obtain, thereby limiting access to some government services.
The extension means that, for the present, travel is unlikely to be affected by Real ID as states work toward implementing the new rules. According to the DHS statement, “Right now, no individual needs to adjust travel plans, or rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel. Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel. Passengers can also continue to use any of the various other forms of identification accepted by TSA (such as a Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, US military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID).”
To learn the status of each state’s compliance, visit dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief.