DHS Extends REAL ID Compliance Dates to 2020

By Roy Maurer Jan 8, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pushed document enrollment dates for REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards from compliant states to the year 2020.

REAL ID is a coordinated effort by individual states and the DHS to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, meant to inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.

Prior to this final rule, federal agencies were not supposed to accept state-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards after Dec. 1, 2014, for official purposes from individuals born after Dec. 1, 1964, unless the license or card is REAL ID-compliant and was issued by a compliant state as determined by the DHS. “Official purposes” include a wide range of activities which HR should be aware of, including business travelers boarding commercial airplanes to entering federal buildings as part of an individual’s job duties. In addition, as of Dec. 1, 2017, federal agencies were to be prohibited from accepting any noncompliant documents for official purposes from any individual regardless of age.

However, both document enrollment dates have now been moved to Oct. 1, 2020.

The new deadline does not impact the prohibition against federal agencies accepting licenses and ID cards issued by noncompliant states. Individuals holding identification documents from noncompliant jurisdictions will need to follow alternative access-control procedures for entering federal facilities. The date for implementing a prohibition on boarding aircraft will not occur sooner than 2016, the department said.

Noncompliant states currently are: Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma and Washington, and the territory of American Samoa.

According to the DHS, the extension was granted due to the recognition that large numbers of residents from compliant states would be required to renew their driver’s licenses or identification cards prior to the end of the year or risk being unable to use them for official federal purposes. Even though individuals may hold licenses from compliant states, those licenses may have been issued prior to a state’s compliance and thus the document itself may not have been issued in accordance with REAL ID standards. The new compliance date “should give residents of compliant states sufficient time to obtain licenses that satisfy the REAL ID standards, which presumably they will do in accordance with their normal renewal schedule,” said the DHS.

‘Significant’ Progress Made

The DHS issued a final rule implementing the REAL ID Act in January 2008. Since then, “states have made significant progress toward securing their document issuance and production processes,” according to the department.

The DHS has worked closely with states to assist with implementation and has provided states with more than $263 million in grants since fiscal year 2008.

As a result, approximately 75 percent of all U.S. drivers hold licenses from compliant jurisdictions or from states and territories that have received extensions. Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdiction may continue to use them as before. The department plans to conduct an evaluation this year to assess states’ progress in meeting the standards.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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