Do you have a ‘Real ID’ yet?
Monday, June 03, 2019
Enacted in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, a federal law called the Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005. It established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and ID cards for official purposes from states that do not meet these standards.
The act was aimed at increasing requirements to obtain documents granting access to domestic planes, federal buildings and military bases. In addition, the cards themselves are to be made using new technology that makes them much more difficult to forge.
It has taken the federal government 15 years now to implement the act fully — a gradual process that has been met by some confusion and foot-dragging as each of the 50 states has approached the process in its own way.
However, all states need to be in compliance by Oct. 1, 2020.
From that date going forward, anyone seeking access to secured areas of commercial airports, federal buildings or military bases will need to show federally approved identification. That usually means a U.S. passport or an approved state-issued driver’s license or ID card.
There are a few other less common IDs that will work, such as permanent resident cards, Department of Defense IDs, and Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler program cards, such as Global Entry or Nexus.
Chances are, if a person hasn’t been issued or re-issued a driver’s license within the last five years or so, they may not have a compliant license.
So how do you know if you have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card? Most states have placed a gold or black star on the front of the license to signify compliance.
As you might expect, however, a few states have issued compliant IDs without a star (Hawaii, Ohio, Tennessee and Utah). So, it’s best to confirm with your state if you don’t see a star.
An easy way to know your license or card is not compliant is if it is marked "Not For Federal Identification" or "Federal Limits Apply."
The act could present a dilemma for full-time RVers — and here’s why: The Real ID Act requires that applicants physically appear at their DMV with a variety of documents, usually including a birth certificate or passport, social security card and proof of residence. It’s the latter requirement that could be problematic for nomadic full-timers who don’t have compliant licenses.
Post-office box and private mailbox addresses commonly used by full-timers won’t cut it. A permanent address is needed.
Only a handful of states recognize the predicament posed to full-time RVers by allowing them to meet the residency requirements using RV park rent receipts. Even at that, most states require additional proof, like bank or credit card statements, phone or utility bills, etc.
There’s no clear solution to this looming problem — so it is high time for full-timers with noncompliant licenses to choose a state and take action to get re-licensed. Oct. 1, 2020, will be here before you know it.
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