New driver’s license requirements are coming to U.S. airports. Is your state ready?

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How close each state is to Real ID compliance

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In the past few months, straggling states have been in a mad dash to comply with the requirements of a 2005 federal act in hopes of avoiding a domestic air travel nightmare for their residents.

The Real ID Act calls for states to abide by federal standards to issue identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and ID cards. A congressional attempt to curb terrorism post-9/11, the act is being enforced in stages. The final stage of implementation, which targets air travel, is slated to begin Jan. 22.

It has taken the federal government nearly 15 years to implement the act fully, a process that has been marred by controversy and confusion at almost every turn.

Critics assailed the legislation as a federal attempt to create a national database of citizens. Although compliant states must meet certain requirements, there is no uniform Real ID card: States still issue their own documents, but they need to meet tougher security standards related to card issuance, card design and application processing.

How to tell if your license is compliant

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The government has used various designations to track a state’s implementation progress, but the three main statuses are compliant, non-compliant and noncompliant with an extension.

If a state is deemed noncompliant, its residents would no longer be able to use such documents for federal identification purposes. (There are no such states at the moment.) Currently, they would be barred from using their state credentials to enter military bases, most federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

On Jan. 22, that list would include airport security checkpoints. Last December, the Transportation Security Administration began posting signs at airport security checkpoints warning travelers about the upcoming deadline.

Until then, state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards can still be used for domestic air travel, regardless of a state’s compliance status. After that, those from noncompliant states will not be allowed. Those from states with extensions will not be affected, as long as extensions are maintained.

The hard cutoff is Oct. 1, 2020, when all driver’s licenses and ID cards must be compliant to go through airport security. (Most compliant states offer a choice to opt out of obtaining a compliant ID.)

A quick rundown on card compliance

Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia meet federal standards.

All the remaining states have been granted an extension through Oct. 10, which indicates a state is making good progress on implementation. Extensions are renewable for up to a year, at the discretion of the secretary of homeland security.

Minnesota, Missouri and Oregon were granted extensions in July, after their state legislatures rushed through measures earlier this year to bring them into compliance.

A state’s decision to abide by the act will not result in overnight compliance. It can take years before a state begins issuing compliant documents, often because of inadequate technology and bureaucratic hurdles.

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Compliant IDs generally have a gold or black star in the upper corner, but the line between compliant states and those with an extension can sometimes be blurry. There are two compliant states that issue the IDs without a star.

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A third state, Tennessee, has been deemed compliant by the Department of Homeland Security since December 2012. However, a state official told The Post that the state is still waiting for the go-ahead from DHS before it begins releasing compliant documents.

Five states have gold stars on their physical IDs but aren’t currently compliant, because the state’s application process does not meet federal standards. If the state updates its process to meet federal standards by the deadline, then residents will not have to get a new card.

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For those who don’t want a compliant state credential, there are other forms of identification that facilities will accept. Different standards apply for different facilities, so it’s best to check requirements beforehand.

For example, TSA lists 15 alternatives that can get one through an airport security checkpoint, such as an enhanced driver’s license – an option in only five states – or DHS trusted traveler cards from the Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI programs.

How much Real ID could cost you

Go to the full graphic here to see how much license and ID card fees in your state in stack up against the cost of TSA-approved alternatives for passing through airport security checkpoints.

The implementation of the act has dragged on for more than a decade, with several states opposing it on grounds of privacy and federal overreach. During that time, more than a dozen states considered or passed legislation aimed at preventing the implementation of Real ID standards.

However, even the most critical states fell into line after the timetable for the final implementation phase targeting air travel was announced in January 2016.

“There are no anticipated changes to the enforcement schedule and we are tracking that by 2020, 15 years after this act has been passed, that DHS will require that all states are compliant with Real ID as per federal law,” said DHS spokeswoman Justine Whelan.

In June, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly reaffirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to rolling out the last segment of the act.

“It is a critically important 9/11 Commission recommendation that others have been willing to ignore, but I will not,” said Kelly, now President Trump’s chief of staff, at a congressional hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security. “I will ensure it is implemented on schedule — with no extension — for states that are not taking it seriously.”

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Driver’s license images from each state’s respective motor vehicle department, except for Missouri’s, which is from a media report. Mississippi declined to share its Real ID-compliant license for security reasons.

Driver’s licenses compiled from each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent regulatory agency.

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Article New driver’s license requirements are coming to U.S. airports. Is your state ready? compiled by Original article here

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