Immigration Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Deadline Passes For REAL ID; States Still Falling Short Of Requirements

The deadline for states to adopt REAL ID standards passed on January 15, 2013, and three quarters of U.S. states still fall short of the new requirements. Only 13 states currently issue driver’s licenses and other IDs that comply with the enhanced security standards, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The states that do not yet meet the requirements are eligible to apply for a deferment until they are able to achieve compliance.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act was designed as a national security strategy that would essentially establish nationwide “standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” Since the law first passed, the DHS has issued two extensions in an effort to grant more time for nationwide compliance efforts.

According to a DHS press release, as of December 2012, the following states have met the Act’s requirements: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Many states have balked at the cost of implementing the standards. A number of states that have continued to fall short of the new federal standards — such as Louisiana and New Jersey — are seeking exemptions from the law.

According to the DHS press release, states that haven’t yet met the standards will receive a temporary deferment, so that citizens can continue to use their existing IDs for boarding commercial flights and for other official purposes.

Key Points:

  • DHS December press release reports that 13 states meet REAL ID standards, though compliance is now required for all 50 states.
  • Individuals in states that have yet to reach compliance may receive deferments in order to use their existing IDs to board commercial flights or for other official purposes.

Additional Resources:

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